Pedometer Information

One little gadget that can help you make a healthy change is a pedometer. It is a device you can use to help keep track of the walking you do each day. Here are a few pedometer basics that you may be interested in learning.

Always be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity.

It always helps to ask:

  • What activities are right for me?
  • How much should I do each day?
  • How many days a week?

It's also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

What does a pedometer do?

It helps count your steps to help you figure out how much activity you get and how you can increase it. A reasonable goal for healthy adults whose doctors have recommended that they engage in normal levels of physical activity is 10,000 steps a day.

How do I wear it?

The pedometer—about the size of a cell phone—should be on your belt or waistband in line with your knee in an upright position so it can record your movement. It should not move while you walk; a loose waistband can affect your pedometer’s accuracy. Wear it at your waist, but don’t slip it into a pocket or it may not work properly.

How much do pedometers cost?

They may cost between $10 and $50, depending on the features. A basic model may fit your needs. Pedometers are best at counting steps—they’re not as good at measuring distance and most don’t count calories. Some newer devices can estimate the time you spend walking at a moderate pace.

How do I know if my pedometer is correct?

To test your pedometer, put it on and walk 20 steps at your normal pace. It should read between 18 and 22 steps. If you have any trouble, the manufacturer may be able to help you. The phone number should be on the package, or try visiting the company Web site.

How do I start?

If you choose walking as your healthy activity, one of your first steps could be buying your pedometer. Many online retailers as well as your local stores may carry them—drugstores, sporting goods stores, and general merchandise stores.

As you get into your routine, you might want to consider keeping track of your daily activity in a notebook, so you can see where you can add more steps.

But remember: with or without a pedometer, that daily walk can really help put you on a healthier path.

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