UTAH (ABC4) – You’ve heard it before, whether you’ve said it or heard a friend say it: “I need to get my steps in.”

On the track toward a healthier lifestyle, many look towards adding a few extra steps in their daily routine to get the blood flowing and burn a few extra calories. According to a recent study out of Brigham Young University, simply putting on a step tracker, whether it’s your Fitbit, an Apple Watch, or any device that will count your steps, will help get those steps in every day.

The study found that those who were wearing a provided pedometer took an average of 318 steps more than those who didn’t, even when they didn’t know how many steps they were taking in a day.

“Humans are hardwired to respond to what is being measured because if it’s being measured, it feels like it matters,” BYU Marriott School of Business professor and author of the paper, Bill Tayler told BYU Communications. “When people go get an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, of course it’s going to affect their behavior; they obtained the device with the goal of walking more. But it’s helpful for individuals to know that even without trying, just being aware that something is tracking your steps increases your activity.”

BYU recruited 90 students over the course of a spring term. In order to set a baseline, the participants were required to have an iPhone 5s or newer, as iPhones have a built-in pedometer. Randomly selected participants were provided a tracking sheet to report their daily step count and others were given a pedometer with no visible display or feedback. Participants in the control group were unaware that the study was related to steps or that their step counts were being tracked through their phone’s built-in pedometer. 

“Measurement and tracking precede improvement,” said Christian Tadje in a release. Tadje is a BYU graduate who spearheaded the research with the Healthcare Industry Research Collaborative as a student. “If you want something to improve — for example, a key performance indicator in the workplace or a personal health goal — our study shows that you should consider tracking your progress.”