Pedometers – Keeping Track of Your Physical Activities AND Keeping You Motivated!
Simply walking can be one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is recommended that people exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. How can we track how much we walk every day? You got it! PEDOMETERS! Pedometers are an excellent tool that can motivate you to walk and do other physical activities.
How much should you walk each day? Well most people only walk about 3,000 steps per day. Studies show that walking an extra 7,000 steps each day can offer significant health benefits. But jumping from 3,000 to 10,000 steps immediately can be an unrealistic goal. Gradually increasing your steps per day will ensure that you get to your goal in a safe way and continue to reach your goal in the long run. To get started, wear your pedometer every day for one week without changing your normal activities. Keep track of how many steps you walk in the week (don’t forget to zero out each morning!) Figure out your daily average by adding up how many steps you took for the week and divide by 7. For the next week, make it your goal to add a certain amount of steps each day. For example, you can add 10% of your steps per day, 250 steps per day or 500 steps per day. Make that your small goal. Each week, add your small goal of steps to your total so that you can build towards your big goal of 10,000 steps a day.
What should you look for in a pedometer? The most important thing to look for is its accuracy. Typically, spring-levered pedometers are the least expensive. If they have a coiled spring, it tends to be more accurate and is a little bit more expensive. Accelerometers (electric pedometers) are more accurate than spring-levered pedometers. These run on batteries and can measure how fast you are going. Pedometers usually cost anywhere between $15 and $30. Pedometers that are cheap can be less accurate. Some pedometers have extra features, such as calculations for calories burned, distance traveled, and ways to upload your data to your computer. These pedometers may cost more, but they can also help keep you motivated. Finding the right pedometer for you is what is going to be the best. As long as you can know how to use it, it counts your steps, and it gets you inspired and motivated to exercise, that’s all we are looking for! Happy walking!
By Christine, Physician Assistant
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For more information on gadgets, apps, and tools to help you keep fit, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our weight loss treatment professionals, please contact the DFW Bariatric Institute.