Pedometers alone do not increase mobility in inpatient rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial

Amy Atkins, John Cannell, Christopher Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To test if pedometers, as a motivational tool, could affect mobility outcomes in inpatient rehabilitation. Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial. Setting: Subacute hospital rehabilitation unit in Australia. Participants: A total of 78 participants with reduced mobility and clinician-determined capacity to improve. Interventions: Both groups received usual care. For the intervention group, a pedometer was worn on the hip with the step count visible to participant and recorded daily on an exercise log. For the control group, a pedometer fixed shut was worn on the hip and they recorded estimated distances walked on an exercise log. Main measures: Primary outcome was functional mobility – De Morton Mobility Index. Secondary outcome measures were walking velocity, functional independence measure, time spent upright and daily step count. Results: Significant improvements over time (P < 0.001) in functional mobility, comfortable walking velocity and functional independence measure were not influenced by the intervention. The daily average upright time (hours) in the first week of intervention was different (P = 0.004) between the intervention group (median, interquartile range (IQR): 1.67, 1.77) compared to the control group (median, IQR: 1.12, 0.82). Conclusion: Pedometers as a motivational tool without targets do not improve functional mobility in this population. Pedometers may improve daily upright time in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1390
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number8
Early online date8 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • inpatient rehabilitation
  • mobility
  • Pedometer


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