A pedometer is an excellent tool for motivating you to keep losing weight because of the immediate feedback. It lets you monitor your accomplishments in real time as well as keep a log of your day, month and year totals. Once you become aware of your habitual movements, you'll strive to move even more. And as you watch the pounds melt away, your eating habits may also change.
Some models come with software that allows you to graph and visualize the data for more disciplined training use. It might even inspire you to take the stairs instead of the elevator in case you are shy of your daily goal!
Types of pedometers
- Conventional: These pedometers count steps by detecting motion. Set them manually by establishing a baseline step in the beginning, so the tracker will know your stride. Sportline Step and Distance tested well for accuracy ($8 and up). Another good one--the $30 Mio Trace. It has good ratings and also includes a calorie counter, stop watch and a regular watch.
- GPS: These trackers are more expensive and measure distance using satellite data. GPS devices may not work indoors or in heavily wooded areas, but because they measure distance as opposed to steps, they can be used while walking at the park or walking to the store. You can track the miles you walked during many outdoor activities. The Timex Ironman and Garmin Forerunner tested well for accuracy at various reasonable prices.
- Phone apps: Purchase these through your mobile device. You may find it difficult keeping a phone in your pocket at all times, but holders, cases and clips can be purchased for the phone. The apps sense body motion to measure steps. Around $4 can get you the Accupedo Android widget that tested well with users. For iPhone users, Pedometer GPS + PRO received high ratings and it costs 99 cents.
- Do not alter normal activities during the first week. Instead, get a baseline of how much you usually walk. You can compare and track your improvement with weight loss and fitness goals as well as a before and after picture.
- There are approximately 2,000 steps per mile; most healthy adults walk 10,000 steps per day. If your baseline falls short, add 1,000 steps per day until you reach your goal.
- Wear your device properly, at waist level, clipped onto a firm waistband (not a loose pair of shorts or running pants) and in an upright position. Loose waistbands tend to miscount steps and severely affect accuracy.
Number of steps versus activity level
- 0-5,000 = Sedentary
- 5,000-7,499 = Low active
- 7,500-9,999 = Somewhat active
- 10,000-12,500 = Active
- 12,500-more = Highly active
As with any new physical routine, seek a medical evaluation and get clearance from your Atlanta doctor. Once the doctor gives you the OK, get moving and you'll see a positive difference!