Boots are made for walkin', and pedometers are made for steppin'. Pedometers are low-profile, convenient, inexpensive and user-friendly stepping counters. This electronic device made its debut in the United States in the 1990s and are still popular because of the many advantages associated with using them. These include allowing the user to classify their personal activity baseline and providing a greater ability to establish attainable exercise related goals, says the American College of Sports Medicine. Also, pedometers can be useful motivational tools in getting the kids or family members more active.
Setting Personal Activity Baseline
If you are not sure how much you move during the day, one advantage a pedometer offers is determining your current activity level. When you get your pedometer, follow instructions on how to wear it, use it, read it and maintain it. Wear the pedometer for an entire day, making sure to adhere to your normal schedule. At the end of the day, note how many steps you took. Do this for a few more days to average out your total steps per day to obtain your personal activity baseline. A chart compiled from the El Paso Independent School District lists different activity levels according to the amount of steps taken per day. If you walked 0-4,999 steps per day, you are classified as not very active. If you were in the 5000-7,499 range, you are low active. You are classified as somewhat active with 7,500-9,999, but will finally be in the active category when you reach 10,000-12,499 steps. Highly active people rake in at least 12,500 steps per entire day.
If your activity level was a little low, the pedometer can encourage you to step it up. For instance, if you averaged 4,000 steps per day, make a goal to get into the low active range by adding at least 1,000 more steps into your daily routine. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking on your lunch break are just a few of the new activities that can be added to your daily routine, which is another advantage of using a pedometer. According to "Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports," using a pedometer increases physical activity by at least 1,800 to 4,500 steps per day. In other words, the University of Oregon's Steps to Miles Conversion Chart states that 1,800 to 4,500 steps is equivalent to walking 1 to 2.25 miles.
Walking to Lose Weight and Gain Confidence
Walking does not only help break in those new cute sneaks, it has its benefits, too. Because carrying a pedometer creates motivation to move, benefits reaped include a decrease in blood pressure and weight. Blood pressure lessens after a 12-week, 10,000-step-per-day walking intervention for hypertensive participants. Diabetics lose more weight and have improved insulin levels with the addition of a healthy diet plan, according to "Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports."
Motivation for Yourself and Others
Another advantage to using a pedometer is the motivation factor. Pedometers are inexpensive, making it easier to motivate family and friends to join you in your new walking quest. Joining a gym can be costly for those who are on a tight budget, but joining a walking club can be as inexpensive as your pedometer. Ask your family to join your walking club, and challenge your kids to a walking challenge. Young ones will be more motivated to get that daily activity in if they have their own personal pedometer.
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using a Pedometer
- El Paso Independent School District: Step Up with Pedometers
- Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports: Steps to Better Cardiovascular Health: How Many Steps Does it Take to Achieve Good Health and How Confident Are We in This Number?
- University of Oregon: Steps-to-Miles Conversion Chart
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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