Pedometers are small devices that you carry with you to measure the number of steps you take. You can wear them all day long, or only when purposefully walking for exercise. They can help you set goals and determine how far you have walked. A pedometer can be found for just a few dollars, and these devices are invaluable if you plan to walk for exercise. Here's how to use pedometers to measure walking progress:
- Get a pedometer. Your first step in using a pedometer is to buy one. They range from simple to complex, and like any other gadgets, there are many different choices on the market today. To track the number of steps you are taking, all you need is the most basic pedometer. Pedometers are easy to use; just clip them onto your belt or a similar area, and the pedometer will record the number of steps based on your body's movement.
- Determine how much you normally walk. You can wear it for a whole day to see how much you walk, or, if you have a set routine of walking for exercise, measure how many steps you take in a typical walking session. A pedometer measures the number of steps; most people take about 2,000 steps per mile, although this does depend on your stride. If you want to determine a closer number to use, go to a track and use the pedometer when walking a mile. The number of steps is the number per mile when taking your stride into account.
- Decide how much you should walk. Most experts say that 10,000 steps per day is a good goal to remain healthy. Many people are far more sedentary than this, especially if they work in an office building or other location where walking is not a large part of their daily routine. In fact, many people only walk around 3,000 steps per day. Remember that this includes all of your activities from waking up to going to bed; a good goal when walking for exercise is about 3,000 steps, which should take about half an hour and cover a mile and a half.
- Set goals. Plan to increase the amount you walk by no more than ten percent per week, although you may be able to increase by more if you're just starting a walking program but are relatively fit. By breaking it down into individual steps, you'll be able to increase the amount slowly, over time. Work your way up by 500 steps or so, but don't get discouraged if you can't meet your goal, and adjust your goals if needed.
- Track your progress. Always remember to wear your pedometer, either when you go walking or all day, depending on your goals. Try to beat your goals by a little bit each time. Even if you can only walk a little, maybe 1,000 steps, that's half of a mile. Breaking it down into individual steps can be a great way to stay motivated no matter your fitness level.
Pedometers are a great motivating tool, whether you're just starting a walking tour or have been walking for exercise for quite a long time.