Daily walkers may find it hard to measure whether rounds of the building or park have made any impact on their weight. To best determine whether pounding the pavement is paying off, you need to start using a pedometer.
Tracking every step you take, a pedometer can be a big motivator, helping you reach your fitness goals by showing you just how much you are moving on a daily basis. An activity-tracking device or app is a newer version of a pedometer, counting more than steps. They also calculate calories burned, and some measure sleep quality, compute calorie intake and even double up as watches. So actually a pedometer can help you lose weight.
Why you should use a pedometer/activity tracker
The American Heart Association recommends adults should take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. A pedometer will help you keep track of how many steps you’re actually taking.
Here are some more reasons why it’s an effective device:
- It only gives you positive feedback ie the more you walk, the more steps you get to count, which is a great motivator.
- It’s inexpensive. If you don’t want to buy a wristband or clip-on device, you can just download a free pedometer app on your smartphone.
- A pedometer can make you aware of how sedentary your lifestyle actually is. Many of us don’t realize how little we move, until we start measuring it. Figuring out how many extra steps you can sneak in during the day can actually become a fun activity.
How do you choose a pedometer/activity tracker?
There are several factors that determine which pedometer or activity tracker is the best fit for you.
Wear or carry? Do you find it cumbersome to have your smartphone on you at all times? Then a wristband or clip-on device is right for you. Don’t think you’re ready to invest in wearable tech? Download a free pedometer app on your smartphone.
Information Some pedometers and most activity trackers calculate time spent on an activity, distance walked and even the number of calories you burn. Others link to your computers, allowing you to upload data and electronically track your progress. So choose a device that best suits your requirement.
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Reader-friendliness If you walk or run at night, make sure your device is backlit. Also, it should be suitable for activities both indoors and outdoors.
How do you use a pedometer/activity tracker?
- At the outset, you need to establish your baseline activity. For that, wear the pedometer throughout the day for three straight days. Add the total number of steps for each of the three days and divide by three. That will give you an average to start with, by which you can set your step goals.
- Start with making short-term activity goals. If you normally take about 3,000 steps a day, try and add another 500 to 1,000 steps by either adding to your daily walk, or finding 10 minutes to accommodate an extra walk into your schedule. When you meet your goal, start a new one.
- Set long-term goals. That could be walking 10,000 steps a day, or about 8 kilometres, several times a week. You can also set a goal of walking faster as your fitness level improves.
- Your tracker may or may not have a memory function to track your steps on a weekly or monthly basis; if it doesn’t, monitor your progress by creating your own log. This will help you both meet your goals, and set new ones.
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