Whether you are a fitness junkie, or just getting started on a new fitness plan, using a pedometer can help you achieve your goal of either maintaining your current fitness level or get back in shape. Doctors and fitness professionals often recommend that people obtain 10,000 steps daily in order to maintain health. The average step per day tally for Americans is estimated to be somewhere between 3,000 – 4,000.
The most basic pedometer is a small device that clips onto your waistband, and measures your steps. More advanced versions will also track your calories, distance traveled, speed, heart rate, elapsed time, and even function as an alarm clock and stopwatch. The Fitbit One Tracker is so advanced that it even tracks your sleep quality, and will download your data automatically to your computer when you walk by! The Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 is one of the best pedometers you can buy if you are interested in just a basic step counter. Experts recommend spending at least $25.00 on a pedometer to ensure quality. Anything less, and the springs in the pedometer are in danger of wearing out in just six short months.
The best way to increase your fitness and health goals by using a pedometer is to track your progress for one week. Simply keep a workout log of your average daily activity for this period. At the end of the week, increase your goal per day by 2,000 steps. Keep increasing your goal every two weeks by 2,000 steps until you’ve reached the 10,000 goal mark. After you’ve reached this goal, you may strive to increase your goal all the way up to 12,000 or even 15,000 steps per day.
Once you begin doing this, it almost becomes like a game. You will be motivated by your own progress, and you will want to do more to beat your current score. You may find that on weekends, it is easy enough to reach your 10,000 steps a day goal all in one shot by taking a long walk. However, the weekdays can prove much more of a challenge!
If you aim to walk for 30 minutes daily at a 15-minute-mile pace, you will achieve roughly 4,000 steps. Some strategies that you can easily fit into your schedule to increase your daily steps include:
- Parking in the furthest spot from your destination
- Taking the stairs whenever available
- Walking down every aisle of the grocery store
- Adding a quick walk to your lunch hour
- Walking to your co-worker’s office to talk rather than emailing
- Walking around while you are on the telephone
If you become bored with walking on your treadmill or around your neighborhood, grab a friend and explore a new hiking trail. Catch up with your spouse and children on an after dinner walk, or make a date with a friend to meet up for a walk instead of a meal. Before you know it, you will have created some additional fans of the pedometer!