Choosing A Pedometer to Lose Weight

Resolution time is upon us once again. So dust off those pedometers, we’re off to get some fit-inducing walks underway. Just by wearing your pedometer again and observing your daily steps and distance traveled will be motivational. I suggest if you are just starting out in your trek to better health, you wear it all day long for at least two weeks and journal your daily count. Once you have some new habits in place, you can wear your pedometer just for walking workouts.

If you don’t own a pedometer, or have never used one in the past, you might need a little guidance to choose the best one for your personality type, your needs, and your interest in fitness. At the most basic level, a pedometer will sense your body’s movement and count every step you take. Technology has taken this small device to do so much more though.

Once the steps are racking up, a pedometer will next convert those steps into distance traveled. It does so by learning the length of your stride. To do so you must program the pedometer to your average step (stride) length. Each model varies so you’ll have to read the instruction manual to get this accurately.

Here is a little explanation though to make sense of the measurement. Step lengths and stride lengths are often referred to as the same thing but in some cases they are different. Your step length is the distance from your heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. Stride length is measured similarly by many pedometers but some explain it as the heel print of one foot to the next time that same foot imprints. Really this is a stride length of two steps, since the other foot has already touched down once.

Sometimes you can come across a fairly accurate guess-timate of stride length based on your height. For women the equation is your height x .413. For men the equation is your height x .415. This never worked for me but I have a longer than average inseam.

Enter the Multi-function Pedometer

Although all pedometers will count steps, there are others that record calories burned as well as estimating your speed and measuring pulse rate. Some will even tell you how much fat you burned and sync with your laptop or Iphone to chart your progress. If you like features in your gadgets get the best pedometer you can afford because all those charts, graphs and measurements will keep you motivated, I promise!

One of the newest features in pedometers are those that track both speed and distance. These devices use GPS technology which, when coupled with software to upload to your PC or online journals, is a lot of fun. Nike has even launched a foot pod that is embedded into your training shoes which also is stored online at their website.

Just the Basics Please – the Simple Step Counter

On the other hand, if simplicity is your game, the most basic yet accurate pedometer will be your goal. As for the numbers, you want to increase the count daily with a starting set (for the over 30 crowd) of 7000 for weight and health maintenance; 10,000-12,000 for weight loss and fitness; and 15,000 for athletic training.

How to Tell If Your Pedometer is Accurate

Accuracy becomes an obsession once you’ve owned a pedometer for a while. Dependent on your model of choice you may find that just wearing the pedometer in a different location may chance the accuracy of steps counted, or if you’re more concerned about distance traveled you may have to adjust your stride settings. Pedometers should be comfortable enough to wear all day – some will even count steps from your handbag or purse – but I prefer to wear mine on my hip with a safety leash. Safety leashes ensure your pedometer isn’t lost as you’ll soon find that you come to rely on the little gadget.

A great way to double check your pedometer for accuracy is to visit Google Maps: Pedometer. Just go there and chart your route, then compare the results with your own pedometer’s count.

Get Walking With Your New Pedometer

Keeping records for two weeks of your steps and distance keeps you motivated and here’s why. Every day you see that you’ve taken more steps than the day before and start to look for more ways to increase your step count. Walking up a flight of stairs, walking part way home, parking away from the grocery store are just three examples.

So let’s get busy walking shall we? I’ll walk with you, in my own little town and we’ll grow stronger, fitter and leaner every day. Even just the simplest little pedometer starting with just 5,000 steps a day is a great start – I know you’ll find it to be both motivational and addictive once you see the changes in your health and fitness level.

Starting Out With A Step Counter

Step Counter vs. Pedometer - Which Do You Need?
By the time you retire you could be taking treks along the side of moutain ranges. Start walking today and you never know where it will take you...

A step counter, or pedometer, can improve your health and overall wellness, help you to lose weight and potentially live longer too.

So, what’s a pedometer? It is a small electronic device (a gadget) that you wear on your waistband. As you walk, it counts your steps.

To be technically correct I’ll clarify. A pedometer actually calculates distance. A step counter only counts steps. Today’s pedometer still counts steps but it also uses a user-input stride length to calculate that distance.

More complex pedometers will also calculate calories burned, time spent in exercise each day, steps per minute and whether you reach aerobic levels, etc. If you are just starting to walk for fitness, you don’t need much more than a decent $20 or so step counter.

So why would you want to count steps anyway? Well the steps you take are a primary indicator of the activity you engage in each day. Research and studies over the last ten years have shown that you don’t need to allot a specific time for exercising as smaller bouts of exercise can have the same effect. Say, for instance a short walk in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Nice? I thought you’d like that! Some small daily changes in your routine and a simple little pedometer to chart your progress can have tremendous beneficial effects on your health.

By taking more steps per day you increase your daily activity and metabolism. You burn more calories. Your muscles get moving.

But that’s not all….

Exercising also increases stamina, stimulates weight loss, lowers blood cholesterol levels, lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood and your self image and enhances your quality of life. Really. Try it for a week – 3 small walks per day, every day and assess how you feel by the end of one week. Remember that it takes 7 weeks to make your new habit a part of your life so if you feel better (and I know you will) then keep at it for another 6 weeks to follow.

Here’s what else you’ll notice…

You’re going to sleep better, you’ll be strengthening your heart and lungs, your energy will increase and you’ll ability to deal with stress will strengthen. You’ll also lower your triglycerides and better control blood sugar levels/diabetes naturally.

There are more benefits to exercise as I’m sure you already know. The point is that a new routine, a step towards fitness, doesn’t need to cost a fortune or fill up your evenings and weekends. Start with just 10 minute walks a few times a day and your life will be improved. Assess at the end of the week and if you’re feeling great, add more time to each walk or increase the speed and intensity of your walks. Measure your progress and record your steps in your personal pedometer if you have one.

Here’s to your strength, your health, and your long life!