Ever feel like you’re falling short on your fitness goals? You need to ask how much you’re actually moving in a day. You might feel like your go-go-go pace should have you burning calories whether or not you actually make it to the gym or the running trail. If only that were true. Just like you need to stop sometimes and count calories for a few days to make sure you’re still on track, you need to count how many steps you’re taking.
It’s recommended that we take a minimum of 10,000 steps each day. The average person’s stride is between two-and-a-half to three feet long, which calculates to around 2,000 steps to walk a mile; while 10,000 steps is nearly five miles. Imagine what adding five miles of walking to your day would do? A 150-pound adult walking at a moderate pace for a distance of five miles would burn about 400 calories. Now, take those steps at a runner’s pace and you’re really burning!
It doesn’t make sense to count each one of these 10,000 steps, but it does make sense to wear a pedometer to do it for you. A pedometer is a small device that can be attached to your belt, and the internal counter records each stride you take. You can opt for a super simple pedometer, with a cost of around a dollar, to more advanced electronic pedometers that go up in cost.
You might need to build up to the 10,000 steps per day, but you’ll no doubt find yourself competing with that little gadget each day trying to at least hit the 10k mark and pushing yourself to wrack up even more steps to push past it.
Studies have shown that those who use a pedometer tend to have greater success with weight loss, have lower blood pressure, and exercise more than those who do not. Pedometer users tend to take 2,000 more steps each day than those who do not use one. All of this can be attributed to the fact that the pedometer encourages you to simply move more.
Take the stairs, park further in the parking lot, walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling, walk the dog and go for an evening jog – it all adds steps to your pedometer, and that adds to calories burned and weight lost.
Also try the Coach to 5K iPhone app.
April 9th, 2010