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Are Pedometers Worthwhile?

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  • Written By: Jane Harmon
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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One of the latest fitness fads is the 10,000 step concept. According to adherents of this program, you can improve your general level of fitness immeasurably simply by walking at least ten thousand steps a day. The beauty of the program is its simplicity. Distance, calories, minutes are all irrelevant - just count steps.

Of course to do this, you need to wear a pedometer; you really don't want to try to keep a running total of steps taken in your head, or even tallied up on paper. And the mere fact of wearing a pedometer has intrinsic informational value - few of us actually know how much (or how little) walking we do in the course of a day.

Without conscious effort, we are all efficiency experts. You put off the trip upstairs until you have several tasks to do there; the trip down the hall to consult with a colleague is put off until you need a bathroom break, or are on your way to lunch. Fuel conservation is good in vehicles, but in human beings, it creates obesity. And the more overweight you get, the more efficient you become, as the least little exertion leaves you panting for breath and red in the face.

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The first step to making yourself more fuel-inefficient, and thus more efficient at burning fat, can be purchasing a cheap pedometer and beginning to wear it all day. Then each night, record the number of steps you took during the day. Wear it from the moment you get up and dressed until you are ready for bed. (If you are like me and put on your 'jammies' some hours before bedtime, clip the pedometer to your PJs!)

For the first week, don't alter your usual activity levels; just go on doing what you would normally do. You are compiling a 'baseline' level of walking activity to see what's normal for you. Be prepared to be shocked at how few steps you actually take in twenty-four hours. If your work is sedentary, sitting-at-a-desk tasks, as most are these days, and your relaxation is reading or the passive viewing of mass entertainment, you may find that you walk less than three thousand steps in the course of a day.

The mere fact of recording your steps is likely to alter your behavior with no effort on your part. Don't be surprised if at the end of the week, your steps-per-day count has gradually increased without your intending to change anything.

After a week, start consciously changing your activity levels. Park at the first open space rather than circling the lot waiting for a space to open up closer to the doors. Walk to the restaurant that's three blocks past the one you usually choose. Go upstairs the minute you have laundry to carry, rather than waiting until you have three other chores to do upstairs. Knowing that your pedometer is dutifully recording your virtuous behavior can be a real motivator for many people to keep moving.

You may have to begin to include intentional 'walks for the sake of walking' into your day to get the maximum health benefit from wearing a pedometer. But cost shouldn't deter you; some of today's pedometers are cheap enough that they can be considered as disposable as a lighter.

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mendocino
Post 1

I think whatever helps us stay in shape is worthwhile. And pedometers just might give us enough incentive to make those 10,000 steps a day.

They are relatively inexpensive, but since there is a wide variety of pedometers on the market, it is a good idea to do some research before purchase. You can select from a different price range to a variety of features. From simple to complicated. I prefer the one that counts just the steps.

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