What’s A Pedometer And Why Would I Need One?

by Susanne Myers

A pedometer is a great inexpensive exercising tool that tracks your progress and keeps you motivated to stick to your daily workout. Let’s take a look at what exactly a pedometer is and why you need one.

A pedometer is a small electronic device, about the size of a pager or smaller. The basic function of a pedometer is to track or count how many steps you take. Most models will also convert our steps into the number of miles you walked and calculate how many calories you have burned. More advanced models will save several days worth of date and some will even connect to your computer so you can chart your progress through software provided as well.

So the pedometer helps you keep track of how many steps you walked. I find that I'm much more motivated to take a little walk through the neighborhood, or park a little further when I'm running errands when I'm wearing my pedometer.

A recent study by the University of Minnesota shows that people wearing pedometers tend to walk more. The study split people up in two groups who were both encouraged to walk each day. Only one group was given pedometers to track their steps.

Those with pedometers increased their steps by about 2100 per day, or 20 minutes of steady walking, a 30% increase in daily steps. They walked almost twice as many blocks as those without pedometers. People using a pedometer also tend to stick much longer with a walking routine.

To get the most out of your pedometer, set daily and weekly goals. Start by setting a baseline number of steps. To do this, simply wear the pedometer for a few days. Don’t try to aim for a certain number of steps. All you are doing at this point is measuring how many steps you take in a normal day. Calculate the average number of steps you take any given day. Next you want to start taking 500 to 1000 steps each day. You can easily accomplish this by taking a little walk around the block, parking a little further away during errand and at work, as well as walking to a college’s office instead of calling him or her. Each week, or every two weeks increase your steps and additional 500 to 1000 steps until you reach a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you are walking to lose weight, work yourself up to 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise every day and a pedometer will help you track your progress and motivate you to keep walking. All you have to do is put on some comfortable shoes, clip on your pedometer and put one foot in front of the other. I encourage you to give walking and using a pedometer a try.

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