When planning to launch a simple, affordable wellness program that has a chance of getting sustainable results, what are activities that everyone can understand and do? My suggestions are: drinking more healthy water on a regular basis and walking X% more steps per day from whatever a personís base activity rate is. For the walking suggestion, we next need to determine which pedometers should the company consider buying to loan out to those who might want to sign up for an exercise challenge. Not having a clue myself, I enlisted my assistant, Karen Green, to scope out the field and do some practical tests. Hereís what Karen did and discovered:

  1. She went to google and entered pedometer reviews to find several good reviews on top brands at:
  2. http://www.pedometers.com/




    She chose the models that scored well on all reviews, and she ordered four brands on line, the: "digi-walker", the "Freestyle", the "Omron" and one she picked at random , the VKRFitness Twin Function Step. She also tested a piece of junk offered for free by the global leader in animal fat pushed to the public, McDonalds.

  3. After thorough testing of all five pedometers Ė often wearing three at a time throughout her day Ė her conclusions were in order of preference:

The Digi-Walker SW 200 (priced at $22) because it was: durable, light, unfailingly accurate, it didnít fall off her waist and she couldnít accidentally hit the reset button. It only counts steps, but thatís all that really matters if you keep your own daily chart.

The VKRFitness SD-01 was a quick favorite (@ $18.49 on line with no shipping), but on the fourth day the cheap plastic case broke, so it was disqualified.

The Omron HJ-112. (the most expensive at $32). This one usually counted the most steps ,which is a psychic positive. And, it had the most different counting features: calories, 7-day memory, distance, "aerobic step count". But, it was bigger, bulkier and fell off Karenís waist when she would bend down. The buttons were exposed, so it was easy to hit the reset button. For someone who doesnít have a waist and who would be inspired by all of the different metrics, this might be the best one.

The Freestyle Tracer (price at $18.99 on Amazon.com) had many of the same features as the Omron HJ-112 but is smaller and more comfortable to wear. But, again, the controls are on the outside and are easily reset unintentionally. It did not count as many steps as the others.

Karen recommends that whichever pedometer you purchase be sure to include a leash so that it does not get lost or hit the pavement when and if it does slip off.


  1. Decide if your company is going to continue to be victimize by rising healthcare costs or start to take proactive measures to create both a wellness culture and recruiting bias for healthier people that is legally unapproachable.
  2. If you do plan to (re)start your corporate wellness program, you are welcome to read our article # 5.16 at www.merrifield.com plus its support notes along with exhibits #ed X to Y on "healthy hydration". Although the biggest benefits will come from helping the most healthy employees to get even more so and to retain and attract employees like them, a well designed wellness program may work for some of the tougher health case employees.
  3. Because even the least healthy can drink more, healthier water at the right times of the day and walk 10% more steps per day than they have been doing. Healthy hydration and pedometer activity are the most simple wellness starting tools.
  4. Consider having a committee of employees follow Karenís testing procedure to determine what types and quantities of pedometers your company might want to buy to loan out and seed a growing walk more steps program. Involvement increases commitment.