Heather H. Betz , Jonathan Myers , Alyssa Jaffe , Kimberly Smith , Ronald Dalman
Background: Pedometers are used to measure physical activity and motivate individuals to be more active. Little is known regarding the impact of the conditions when issuing a pedometer. We explored the influence of pedometers on daily physical activity in patients with cardiovascular disease, with and without additional information, direction, or encouragement.
Methods: Subjects included males (n=45) and females (n=5) (mean age 70.9 ± 7.4 years) with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease from the AAA STOP trial. The No Contact (NC) group (n=25) was mailed a packet containing a pedometer, 12 monthly log sheets, and 12 postage-paid return envelopes, but no letter or instructions. Interviews were conducted after 12 months. The Exercise Treatment (ET) group (n=25) received their pedometers at their first study visit; the pedometers were set up for each individual and goals were discussed. Additionally, they received weekly follow-up and reminders to use their pedometers and increase their daily physical activity.
Results: Twelve of the 25 (48%) NC subjects returned ≥6 monthly logs. Energy expenditure significantly differed between the NC and ET groups at both the 12-month (1331.8 ± 244.1 kcals/week vs. 2357.3 ± 369.6 kcals/week, respectively, p=0.02) and 24-month follow-up (1053.6 ± 227.3 kcals/week vs. 2371.9 ± 434.6 kcals/week respectively, p=0.01). Only 8% (2/25) in the NC group changed their exercise routine due to the pedometer, while 16% (4/25) increased their exercise volume due to wearing the pedometer.
Conclusions: Receiving a pedometer did not aid in increasing daily physical activity in adults with vascular disease. Education, goal setting, and encouragement are needed to supplement the use of a pedometer to increase energy expenditure.