Choosing a Pedometer
The right tool to help you walk your way to health
The best way to make sure you’re getting in enough physical activity, aside from scheduling an hour with the treadmill, is keeping track of your steps. Being fit isn’t always about using cardio equipment or joining a gym, it’s about how much you move during the day. If you’re adding up steps by making many small changes it can be hard to determine how many steps you’ve actually accumulated. That’s where a pedometer comes in.
Most women who don’t have physical jobs take only 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, well under the recommended 10,000. But it’s not hard to meet that goal. Just adding a 30 to 60 minute brisk walk can bring the total up. The best part is you don’t have to do it all at once. Adding 5 or 10 minute walk breaks throughout the day, taking stairs instead of elevators, getting up and moving around in place every so often - it all counts.
- 10,000 steps = 5 miles or 1 hr 40 minutes of walking.
What is a pedometer?
Pedometers are portable electronic device used to count steps. Wearing a pedometer is the best way to make sure you’re reaching your goals. They won’t force you to walk more, but studies have shown pedometers are motivational. Women who wear them increase their daily steps, reduce their BMI and blood pressure and generally increase their physical activity.
- Wear a pedometer on your belt or waistband near the front of your hipbone, in line with your kneecap. It must be upright to work correctly. Some women wear them clipped to the front center of their bra or on their back waistband.
- Test the pedometer by walking 20 steps and checking it out. You may have to clip it in several areas to find out which is more accurate.
- To really test its accuracy you can map out a walk on Gmaps Pedometer. It’s a Google Maps application that allows you to map out your route and determine distance and even calories burned. It’s a great way to make pedometer walking more interesting.
- Track a full workday and a full weekend day to find out where you are now so you know how far you’ve got to go to reach 10,000 steps. If you only take 3,000, you don’t have to aim for 10,000 immediately. Try adding 1,000 or 2,000 step a day to start and gradually add more.
- Calories burned
- Stop watch
- Speed estimator
- Pulse rate reader
What kind is best?
Some of the best pedometers are integrated into MP3 players, watches, phones and GPS systems, but for ease and cost it’s probably just as well to get a standalone pedometer. Many will store up to seven days of history so you know how you’re doing.