Using a pedometer or step counter is an easy way to track your
activity. It allows you to count your steps instead of measuring the number of
minutes you walk. A pedometer allows you to add up all the steps you take
throughout the day and to find creative ways to add more to burn more calories.
It can also motivate you. A quick check may show that you need more steps for
the day. It can also push you to set new goals to take more steps.
There are many types of pedometers. The simplest ones just count your
steps. Digital pedometers track your steps but also tell you how far that is in
miles. Some have clocks, safety alarms, or a 7-day memory. Others can tell you
how many calories you have burned. Be wary of calorie readings, however. They
are not always accurate.
Pedometer prices vary, but a good pedometer may cost $20 to $30. You
can buy them at most sporting goods stores or on the Internet. Look for one
that is easy to read and comes with a clip or safety strap to attach to your
waistband or belt.
Make sure that it is comfortable if placed next to your skin.
Once you are ready to start, read the instructions for setting your
pedometer. The following tips may help.
Experiment with the best place to wear it. It may
be most accurate if you wear it on your side above your hip or on your waist
directly above your knee.
Your pedometer needs to be perpendicular
to the ground to work right. If it is tilted or if it does not fit snugly to
your body, the results may not be accurate. Experiment with finding the right
place to wear it. It may not be accurate if you are walking uphill.
Make wearing it a habit. Put your pedometer on first thing in the
morning. Do not take it off until you go to bed. Keep a log or journal of the
number of steps you take each day.
If you have the type of
pedometer that converts the number of steps into distance, you will have to set
your step length. Follow the instructions on your pedometer, or try using a
water method to help measure your steps. Pour a puddle of water on the sidewalk
and step into it with both feet. Walk a few steps at your normal pace. Using a
tape measure, find the distance between the heel prints of your right and left
feet. This is your step length.
For the first week, go about your
daily routine, but don't change your activity level. Record your steps each
day. This will give you a baseline activity level. The next week, increase that
amount by 2,000 steps per day (about 1 mile, or 20 minutes). Set a new goal
each week, and try to work up to 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day.