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Review: LifeWise™ JW-005S Step Counter & LifeWise™ 4-Function Pedometer

I received these two products from RadioShack© for review and since I’m both into exercise and a Director of Rehabilitation for a skilled nursing facility, I decided to test these out in a couple distinctly different settings with different types of users. First, I wanted to see how well they would work both around the house and on a trail walk. Second, I wanted to test them out with residents at the skilled nursing facility that I work at.

Before we get into that, here is a little info on these two products:

LifeWise™ JW-005S Step Counter (Retail Price: $6.99)

  • – Counts up to 99,999 steps
  • – Belt clip
  • – Button cell battery with reported 1 year life

 

 

LifeWise™ 4-Function Pedometer (Retail Price: $19.99)

  • – Counts up to 999,999 steps
  • – Counts distances up to 999.99 km/miles
  • – Counts calories burned up to 99,999.9 KCAL
  • – Belt clip
  • – Button cell battery with reported 1 year life

Both are small devices that are worn on the hip directly in line with the middle of the knee on the front of the leg. The step counter is harder to read while being worn since the read out is on the front. That presents the read out as upside down and is a little awkward to check while walking. The 4-Function Pedometer, on the other hand, has a flip open front that presents the read out in an easy to read manner. Now for some observations of their functions while in use:

Trial 1: Average Adult around the house

Both step counters performed well when I used them around the house, but had issues when there were movements that impacted them, such as squatting or certain other movements that jostled the leg just so. If you want an accurate read out of steps only, you might want to remove the counter and pedometer during these types of activities.

Trial 2: Average Adult on trail

Both step counters performed well when I took them on the trail. Step counts were accurate and the pedometer calculated an accurate distance when compared against the known distance walked. In fact, it was more accurate that a running app that we ran on the iPhone for comparison purposes. Of course, accurate distance calculations rely on the user setting an accurate stride length when setting up the pedometer and keeping a fairly similar and consistent gait while walking. So, if you switched from walking to running, you would need to recalculate the stride length to ensure that you had a fairly accurate distance recorded.

Trial 3: Geriatric Patient with regular step pattern

As expected, the step counter and pedometer both worked well with these patients, but the pedometer’s distance calculations were slightly less accurate than with the average adult. We chalked this up to calibration and gait consistency. Since these patients did not walk as far as I did in the previous trials and they were a little less consistent with gait length, that reduced the accuracy. So, for this use case, I would recommend sticking to the step counting. Which of these two devices you use would come down to how much you want to spend and whether or not you want to be able to read the steps without removing the device first.

Trial 4: Geriatric Patient with irregular step pattern

This group of patients had various different medical issues that complicated their gait patterns. For those patients who had more of a shuffle to their step, there were sometimes large deviations between the number of steps taken and the number of steps measured. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend either the step counter or the pedometer for patients with highly irregular step patterns.

Bottom Line: These step counters are very inexpensive ways to monitor your steps to see how much exercise you are getting throughout the day. They are also a good way to motivate yourself to do more. As far as older people that are not getting enough exercise are concerned, I’ve found these are a good way to give them an accurate idea of how much exercise they are really getting. It also helps to motivate those people to try to do more, thereby improving their physical condition.

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