Counting More Than Steps

Walking to stay fit? Pedometers help. The new models do more than count steps. SportBrain's iXStep series and Walkstyles' DashTrak, both worn at the waist, measure calories burned, distance traveled, and heartbeats per minute. And they connect to your PC to upload the data to a Web site for online analysis.

I wore both pedometers for a month and started acting differently. I no longer cursed when I had to run down two flights of stairs for the laundry. I parked far from the train station. One night, I marched around my bedroom for 10 minutes until the day's count hit 10,000 steps.

Of the two, I prefer DashTrak. It costs more ($129 vs. $50), but you get more. With its slim design, it can be worn under a dress. The covered face protects against accidentally pushing the step-counting button. What's more, a clip lets it fasten tightly, while the SportBrain continually pops off.

For questions, DashTrak provides live customer-service representatives. SportBrain relies on e-mail -- and answers take up to 48 hours. The DashTrak plugs into an outlet for recharges, while the SportBrain runs on batteries.

Both manufacturers have Web sites, but DashTrak's site tracked my step totals along with others wearing the unit. I now know I have a lot more walking to do.

By Toddi Gutner

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