Coaches' Corner Blog

A Guide to Pedometers

March 10, 2009 - Posted by Megan

This holiday season, out of all of the gifts I received, my favorite was a pedometer from my parents. Do they know me or what? Pedometers are small electronic devices that record the number of steps a person takes. I just clip mine to my belt at work and it keeps track of all my walking!

Now that the days are longer and the weather is improving, I’m looking forward to getting back into my after-work walking routine, too! It will be interesting to see how many steps that will add to my daily numbers.

If you are in the market for a pedometer, you can pay as little as $15 dollars or as much as $100 for one with a wristwatch that counts your steps. I recommend paying around $20-$30. If you buy one that is too inexpensive, there is a chance that it may not be very accurate.

Once you have one, test it by counting 100 steps as you walk and compare that number to what the pedometer shows. If it is less than 90% accurate, position it differently on your waist or try a different one. Here are some top choices for pedometers.

The recommended number of steps is 10,000 per day. While the distance of people’s strides can vary, 10,000 steps equals approximately five miles. Unless your job is quite active, it may take some extra work to get up to that many steps.

On top of your daily routine, you may have to try to get in 30-60 minutes of walking. However, that can be broken up into smaller bouts of exercise. Five minutes here and ten minutes there, just keep adding it up until you reach that goal.

I recommend getting a pedometer and wearing it around for a week or two. Every night, record the number of steps you took and try to get an idea of how many steps you average daily. Each day try to add 500-1,000 more steps in until you reach 10,000.

Just wearing a pedometer regularly may be enough to help you get your recommended amount of exercise in. A study published in 2005 in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal showed that participants who could check their daily steps averaged 10,000 while the group that didn’t check their total steps only averaged 8,270 steps. That’s nearly 2,000 steps less!

I know that I started walking more after I received my pedometer. In fact, I check it right before I go to bed then I hit “reset” for the next morning. It makes exercising a lot more fun!

Do you use a pedometer? What model/brand do you prefer?

 

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