Make Every Step Count

    

     Early last week Tony and I went on a walk that was a pre-measured 2 mile trek. Just to check out the accuracy of my pedometer, I wore it for the workout. At the end of the two miles it read 0.77 miles. It’s time for a new pedometer!

     If you walk for your health and don’t own a pedometer, I highly recommend picking one up. Why? According to a Stanford University Study people who used a pedometer walked an additional 2,500 steps a day (over one mile) compared to those who didn’t. Not a long distance walker? New to walking? You might want to make sure your model tracks steps in addition to miles. Having a goal number of steps and being able to watch them click away one step at a time can be very motivational. One more step is much easier to talk yourself into than say, another tenth of a mile. A goal of 10,000 steps for all day activity is often recommended for those beginning a fitness journey. This would be about 5 miles walked throughout the day and would mean burning up to 500 additional calories.

     There are lots of places where you can save a buck on your fitness gear, but the pedometer isn’t the place to skimp. Accuracy and ease of use are important in this tool. You can pick up a pedometer for $1 at Dollar Tree, but your results are likely to be as accurate as the ones I report above. These inexpensive models use a pendulum mechanism that senses movement in a way that can cause registering of non-walking motions, such as vibrations and jiggles.  The registering of non-walking movement inflates your step count and makes you think that you’ve achieved more than you have. On the other hand, any restriction of the mechanism can cause the pedometer not to register and you will become frustrated that you are putting in lots of effort but the step counts are still low.

     I do speed walking which I currently track in miles. I plan to continue to do that using the new pedometor I choose. I could use step tracking to get in extra more casual calorie burning throughout the day, as well. However, it would be counter productive to do my same miles at a slower pace over the course of the day and count it as the same accomplishment. Make sure you set your goals based on your current activity level and desired result. There is no shame in starting small but if you are currently active use this as a tool to enhance your current plan. Keep doing Zumba or Kicboxing or whatever you do in addition to the walking.    

     Pick out a model that’s right for you and then make every excuse to get extra steps in. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Use that 15 minute break to take a walk instead of grab a snack.

     Shape magazine recommends the Omeron HJ-203 for the casual user or the New Lifestyle NL-2000 for the more serious tracker.  Click on the pics below to get details on both. I think I will try the Omeron. I can currently pick one up for about $16 at Amazon.com and it seems to offer all I need. I will let you know what I think once I try it out.

     You ready for one more step? Get Steppin’!

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