Last week I reported that I measured the length of my step class at Kerrisdale Community Centre with a pedometer and learned that it was my step from warm-up to cool down registered 3,721 steps. (See MINE’S 3.1 MILES, HOW LONG IS YOURS?)

I did a little mathematical estimating and said that this amounted to 3.1 miles.

Here’s the number work I used:

First, I measure the distance covered by one of my strides. When I’m walking normally, I measured that one of my strides is about 80 cm.

But a step class is a fitness class. When I was an archaeologist, I got pretty good at measuring distances on the ground by pacing. I could make one of my strides pretty close to a meter. That takes a little extra energy – a little less than that of a step class. I am fairly confident that 3,726 steps would approximate about 4000 meters, or 4 km.

In my class, I do a whole pile of repeaters where I lift one leg 3 or 7 times while the supporting leg stays on the step. After my class I checked, and the pedometer did not calculate 50% of these. Because there were so many of these, that were also only half recorded, I calculate that there are another 1000 steps – corresponding to another km – a total of 5 km. 5 km s converts to 3.1 miles. I was quite proud of myself after this. I thought that there is nothing like a 3.1 km long session of vigorous exercise to either start a busy week.

Then I received a comment on my blog from an alert reader, friend and Linked-in buddy, Sharon Dillon from Williamsburg Va ( who commented:

Clever math. Most people average 2,000 steps per mile. Pedometers do not measure side or back steps, only forward ones.

You need to measure the length of your steps and enter that info into your pedometer. My stride is about 30 inches. Mine registers best when I attach it to the coin pocket of my jeans. My daughters, being slim rather than fluffy, can attach their’s at the waist. It also needs to stay level during your walk/exercise.I had no witty comeback other than to admit I was wrong. It just shows you that you can’t trust a pedometer, or a pedophile for that matter, with anything.

But I still liked my math. I thought there must be another way to calculate how many steps there are in my class. Then I thought about beats and time. I suddenly remembered that when I went to Aerobics University years ago, along with learning how to chant (40 more – yes you can, and point – and flex, point and fled your toe), we had to be aware of how many beats there were in a song, and also the lengths of each piece of music so we could fit our programs into it.

“Eureka!” I thought. “Bingo!” I could use the number of beats per minute. I then realized that the number of beats per minute for each tune are given on the CD case. Luckily I use real CDs that I pay for with real money. None of this downloading for me.

My class has a 5 minute warm-up at 135 beats per minute or 675 beats. The main aerobics part of the classis done at a slower pace at 128 beats per minute. These are done over a over 50 minutes, allowing 7,075beats. According to the formulae I introduced last week, this translates to 7,075 meters, or through the mathematics I used last week, and given the fact that I use all my beats, so each beat is one step, my class is actually 7 km long, or meters or4.35 miles.

Now I feel better. That was a good run this morning.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there “aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look like.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105 If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. Sharon Says:

    Now that sounds like a good way to measure steps. No wonder you are so fit. 4+ miles X ? classes each week.
    Gosh, I didn’t expect you to quote me; just wanted you to think about how a pedometer works.

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