Ten Thousand Steps (And How to Take Them)
My experience with a pedometer
About a year ago, I purchased a pedometer after reading an article in Massage Magazine suggesting it as a way to monitor one's daily exercise. I have always enjoyed walking for both fun and exercise, and I was curious to see if I could reach the recommended ten thousand daily steps. So, I ordered one online, choosing mine according to the tips in the article. When it arrived, I followed the instructions to activate it, inserting the battery, measuring my stride and putting in the information, entering the time and date, et cetera. With that done, I clipped it on, and went about my day.
Much to my chagrin, I discovered that even with a twenty-minute walk before work, at first I had a great deal of difficulty getting above 8500 steps a day. Most days at first, I could barely get 6000. But I let that serve as motivation, and worked daily at adding steps. Now, I can regularly reach 11000 steps daily.
It seems one unexpected, but not entirely surprising result of my success with a pedometer is that several people around me, such as my parents and friends, have decided to give the pedometer a try as well. Therefore, I have decided to put out this informal guide to working with a pedometer, based on my own experience, for anyone who may be considering using one to track their daily exercise.
Please note that fitness is a highly individual thing, and that 10000 steps is by no means a magic number. Nor should this article be taken as gospel truth, or authority. This is an individual's experience, and a reflection of what has worked for her. By all means, read what others have to say as well.
Benefits of Using a Pedometer
The biggest benefit I've found of using a pedometer to track my exercise is that I can keep it with me while I go about my daily tasks. While it is true that reaching that elusive 10000-step goal does take a conscious effort, when I clip my pedometer on first thing in the morning and keep it on all day, I am encouraged when I glance down and see that the numbers have risen just in the course of a normal day's activity.
Tracking my exercise with a pedometer also means that it is easier to exercise in small bursts so I do not wear out so quickly.
If I were to go to the gym to exercise, I would have to carve out a decent chunk of time from my day and squeeze my workout into one long session. With a pedometer, I slip in a bit of walking here and there and watch it all add up. If I am not in too much of a hurry, I may walk ten minutes before I leave for work in the morning. I may walk ten minutes more on my lunch break. When I am working my massage job, I walk circles around the massage table while I stretch my forearms. If I am working my office job, I walk in place while I print the schedule and pull charts for the day.
By the end of the day, I can feel the effects of a good day's exercise, but during the day, I don't wear out so quickly.
Choosing a pedometer
I highly recommend that you be willing to pay a little extra for a digital pedometer rather than the old-fashioned pendulum sort. Digital pedometers are more accurate, and they stay that way. The brand that I see most highly recommended is Omron. That is also the brand I have, and I have been very satisfied with its features. It tracks my steps, aerobic steps, calories burnt, and miles walked, and keeps each number for seven days, which allows me to keep better track of my progress.
Amazon has several models available for reasonable prices.
A few tips and tricks
Here are a few ways I have found to add steps to my day and get the most out of my pedometer:
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood
- Walk around on your breaks at work.
- Any time you are performing a task that has you standing in one spot, walk in place. This could be filing, washing dishes, or making lunch.
- Pace back and forth while you are on the phone.
- When performing any task that requires carrying things from one room to another, be as inefficient as you can be. Don't try this at work unless you know you have time to drag out a task. Save it for when you are at home, clearing the table after supper, or cleaning up the junk you left in your living room. Return items to their proper place one at a time so you are going back and forth as much as possible.In that same vein, cleaning house is an excellent way of gaining steps.
- Put on some music and dance like a mad person!
Keep track of your progress. Try to add a few steps every day until you reach your goals. Then, set a new goal. Day by day, you'll find yourself walking further, faster, and longer. Happy walking!
How Am I Doing?
5000 or less
12500 or more