Sunday, February 1, 2009

Using a Pedometer to Walk Your Weight Off

A pedometer is a small instrument that clips onto the waist band of your skirt or slacks and tracks how many steps you take each day by sensing the small movement your hips make whenever you take a step. Contrary to popular belief, it does not really matter if your pedometer is totally accurate, or if it calibrates miles walked or calories burned. The part that really matters is that it is consistent. You can find one for less than six dollars at your local department store and it does not have to have any bells or whistles.

The first thing you need to do is find out how many steps you take on an average day. Wear the pedometer from morning till bed time for a few days, being sure to zero it at the beginning of each day. Write down how many steps you take each day. This tells you your baseline. You might walk 500 steps a day because you have a desk job and don't like to exercise or you might walk 5000 steps a day because you go for a walk every morning and are then on your feet all day at work. Maybe your steps fluctuate depending on whether it's a weekday or weekend. Get an idea of how many steps are usual for you and that's where you start.

Then, set a goal for how many steps you want to aim for on most days. The following facts will help you:
- Most people burn approximately 50 calories for every thousand steps.- This means walking 2000 steps burns about 100 calories.
- For the average person, 2000 steps is about one mile.
- For every additional hundred calories you burn each day, you can lose nearly one pound a month.
- This means that for every mile (or every 2000 steps) you start adding to your daily walking, you can lose over 10 pounds this year.
Decide to get out for a two mile walk each morning and lose 20 pounds this year; decide to take 6000 more steps than your baseline, and you can say so long to more than 30 pounds in twelve months.

Now be sure to plan how you are going to add these steps to your daily regimen. Can you take a two mile walk after dinner? This should only take 30 or 40 minutes if you walk briskly. Find ways to start adding steps to your day and get your pedometer climbing into the thousands: take the steps instead of the elevator (even going down stairs uses more steps than the elevator and these count too!); park a little bit farther away when you drive to work or the store; make a few extra trips in and out of the house when bringing in groceries instead of dragging in six sacks at a time; have fun by playing little games with yourself, like taking the silverware out of the dishwasher one piece at a time and walking over to the drawer to put it away. Go ahead, come up with some crazy ones!

You've probably heard that adding more steps during the day helps to burn calories, but with a pedometer you can actually see them adding up and you can know how many more calories you are burning with each activity. Notice how many steps you rack up by going just a little bit further, walking to a nearby friend's house or the store instead of driving, taking the long way instead of taking shortcuts. Have a contest with friends and see who can increase their steps the most. Have fun with it, and try to eventually get your steps up to the recommended ten thousand a day to lose the weight you need to and then keep it off!

Please share your fun ideas to get more steps in, and how many you got up to! My highest was 17,000 on a vacation in Philadelphia's center city with non-stop walking all day long... that's over eight miles :)

1 comment:

Reuven said...

At the current era that most of us using an iPod or an iPhone, the best economic, value for money is using a Pedometer application.

Check out the Playing Pedometer!

Have fun!