By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – If you wonder whether counting your daily steps does anything to improve your health, a new study says it does.

Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at data on almost 1,300 participants in clinical trials. Half were assigned to track their steps with pedometers over 12 weeks while the others did not count their steps.

After three to four years, they found people using pedometers were getting about 30 more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. They were also 44% less likely to sustain a fracture and 66% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

Since everyone’s step goal is different, researchers say pedometers allow people to get a sense of how many steps they take at baseline and then help them increase their walking gradually and safely over time.

Dr. Mallika Marshall