Do you ever hear yourself saying “I need to exercise more” but then another week passes and your sneakers are still collecting dust? Do you need a little added motivation to get moving? If so, a pedometer may help. “According to research from over 26 studies, pedometer use was associated with a significant increase in physical activity levels and a reduction in BMI and Blood Pressure readings.”
So what is a pedometer and why does it work? A pedometer is a device that counts the number of steps you take each day. It is helpful because it increases awareness of physical activity levels, and it allows you to see how many steps you take compared to the recommended 10,000 steps a day (this is equivalent to approximately 5 miles). Many sedentary adults may only be 2,000- 2,200 steps per day (~ 1 mile). Do you know how much you are moving?
Pedometers offer several different features. Some calculate distance, others calculate how many calories you burn, some tell time, but they all count steps. I think counting steps is really the most important, as distance and calories are only estimates. I recommend using pedometers to see what your current activity level is and to track progress each week. For example, the first few days you may just want to do your usual daily activities to determine how many steps you’re taking on average. Don’t worry if you’re not close to 10,000 steps, you just want to build onto what you are currently doing. If you are walking 3,000 steps a day the first week, then the next week try to average 3,250 steps each day. Set goals for yourself each week, and reward yourself when you achieve those goals.
The following are some general guidelines that may help you get started:
- 2,000 steps = ~1 mile
- 1 mile = ~100 calories burned
Reference: J.M. Abbot. Pedometer Use. Weight Management Newsletter. Spring 2008.