Hacks for When You Forget to Wear Your Pedometer

New Fitbit Force, sport fitness tracker
franckreporter / Getty Images

What can you do when you discover after a healthy walk that you forgot to wear your pedometer or fitness band or you discover its battery is dead? If you are addicted to making your fitness tracker goals each day and have an unbroken streak of achieving 10,000 steps per day, you may be distressed to discover you've just walked steps that don't count.

What to Do When You Forget Your Tracker

When you know you've put in the miles, you might just have to resort to one of these kooky tactics to keep your streak alive.

  1. Enable Your App to Access Your Mobile Phone's Step Count Data: In the Fitbit app, add Fitbit MobileTrack as a device. This will allow the app to use your phone's built-in accelerometer chip and display its data. Go to Account, Set Up Device, and select MobileTrack. Other brands of fitness trackers may have a similar feature.
  2. Log the Exercise with the App or Dashboard: Fitbit and some other trackers let you manually log exercise that wasn't tracked with the tracker. This may or may not add to your step count total. It does with Fitbit for some purposes but won't transfer to some third-party applications where you may be engaged in competitions or earning rewards. You may want to estimate the missing steps by knowing your steps per mile.
  3. Just Walk More: Put on your device and get moving. A few more miles are likely to do you good unless you just finished a long distance training walk or an actual marathon.
  4. Dance: Tired of walking? Put on your tracker, put on the tunes and dance. Arm and hip motion can rack up the steps fast.
  1. Wave Your Hands in the Air: Many fitness bands can be tricked into recording lots of steps if you use vigorous arm motion, whether you are walking or not. Experiment with your band or pedometer. If you're just too tired for any legwork, this might work.
  2. Cycling: When you've already walked as far as your feet can take you, try sitting and cycling with your device clipped to your shoe. Not all pedometers and fitness bands count cycling motion as steps. Try positioning the pedometer on your sock cuff if you don't get steps with it on your shoe. Cycling tones the opposite leg muscles that walking and running do, and it is a good part of an overall fitness program.
  3. Play With the Pooch: Attach your pedometer to your dog's collar and play catch. It won't wear you out if you have your dog return the ball to you with each throw. Your device may not count doggie steps the same as human, but it might get your closer to your lost step number. Careful, though, or your dog may want his own pet pedometer.
  1. Soccer Mom Solution: Attach your pedometer to your kid as he or she goes to soccer or basketball practice. Offer a reward for logging the most steps while jumping rope, shooting hoops, playing Wii or dancing to DDR. You don't need to feel guilty as these are all great things for your kids to be doing for their own physical activity.
  2. Friends and Family Plan: You're tired, but maybe somebody else is ready to get moving. Hand it over to a friend or loved one who is ready to walk, run, or get on the treadmill.
  3. Strangers at the Gym or Track: Enlist a random person on the treadmill at the gym to wear it during their workout. You may want to offer a tip when they return it to you.
  4. Robots to the Rescue: Look around you. What gadgets or appliances do you have that might simulate a walking motion so you don't have to? Ceiling fans. Rocking chairs. You'll have to experiment. One person reported accidentally dropped hers in the dryer and it recorded a lot of steps. If you try that, wrap it up well with padding in a zippered pouch or pocket and set the dryer to the no-heat air-dry setting.
  1. Steal Somebody Else's Steps: If you have a friend who isn't as goal-obsessed as you are and who also wears your brand of fitness tracker, ask to borrow it for a moment. Link it to your account and steal their steps for the day. Give it back and then link your own tracker. This may not work with every pedometer. Some will retroactively credit the steps already achieved for the day, others will only show steps walked after you link it to your account.

A Word From Verywell

It's great to be motivated by your fitness tracker and make your activity goal each day, but it does bring the risk of being demotivated when it doesn't record all of your efforts. If you aren't able to make your goal for the day, it's important to get past that disappointment and continue to be active each day. You didn't fail—the technology just didn't record it. Your body still benefited from the steps you took. Use your fitness tracker to move more, sit less, and achieve the minimum recommended amount of exercise each day.

Was this page helpful?