Using a Pedometer

by Clare Wood

buy a pedometerPedometers have become very popular lately and are seen to be a way of encouraging people to increase the amount of daily exercise. Clip it on to your belt or top of your pants/skirt and let it count the steps you take. Some more fancy pedometers will also measure calorie expenditure and distance traveled; these are calculated depending on your step size, which can be entered into the pedometer for a more accurate measure.

The pedometer can be used in two different ways. Firstly it can be used to crudely measure your daily 'incidental' activity by counting steps. Incidental activity is the movement you do just naturally through the day. Walking to the postbox, taking the stairs not the elevator, walking around your home and workplace. All of these things can be increased to increase your daily activity and hence energy expenditure. The experts say, although there is still discussion about this, that 10,000 steps per day is what you need to do for optimal health. If you are very sedentary this will seem like a lot, so I recommend that you aim for 500 more steps each day from baseline (what you currently do) and just keep improving on that everyday. It becomes easier when you really put your mind to increasing incidental activity.

To be able to reach 10,000 steps it can be easier when you actually go for a walk or jog (work you way up to the jogging). An idea is to get a dog, or a friend that also wants to walk, so you have to do it – no excuses! Reserve 30 minutes in the day to do some walking and you will find it much easier to reach the target steps.

Secondly, if you really want to get technical, you can compare the calorie expenditure measure with what you eat. Do a food diary and work out how many calories are being consumed, and try to make ‘calories in’ less than the number of calories expended. This way you will be able to lose weight.

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