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A pedometer is a device, usually portable and electronic or electromechanical , that counts each step a person takes by detecting the motion of the person's hands or hips . Because the distance of each person's step varies, an informal calibration , performed by the user, is required if presentation of the distance covered in a unit of length (such as in kilometers or miles) is desired, though there are now pedometers that use electronics and software to automatically determine how a person's step varies. Distance traveled (by walking or any other means) can be measured directly by a GPS receiver .
Pedometers can be a motivation tool for people wanting to increase their physical activity. Various websites exist to allow people to track their progress; however, many will also find entering their daily step count and a heart-beat count onto a calendar to be motivational as well. Pedometers have been shown in clinical studies to increase physical activity, and reduce blood pressure levels and Body Mass Index . A study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association Nov. 2007  concluded, “The results suggest that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure.”
A daily target of 10,000 steps was first proposed.  The target has been recommended by the US Surgeon General and by the UK Department of Health .   The main criticisms of setting a universal target are that it is not achievable for older persons with mobility problems or people with chronic diseases, but on the other hand, the target is probably too low for children.