Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
A pedometer at its most basic is a small portable device which you can attach to your waistband and which records the number of walking steps you take. The device detects the motion of your hips and records each step. It is an invaluable motivation tool and will help you reach the recommended target of 10.000 steps daily for improved health and well being. They are available from sports shops or can be readily bought on-line
Wearing your pedometer will not be enough to motivate you towards a more active lifestyle and help you reach your goals. You need to record your readings. Remember every step counts so wear your pedometer as soon as you are dressed for the day. Recording your progress in an exercise diary will help to motivate you to increase your daily count.
There are many different types of pedometer. Some come with radios, lights, alarms, auto start and stop, voice or memory. The simplest type just records the number of steps taken. Some are more accurate than others. If you are not technology – minded choose the simplest model available. There is only one button to be pressed, which will reset the device to zero at the beginning of each walking session.
Other types will record the number of steps, the distance walked in either miles or kilometres, the number of calories burnt, the time in either digital or analogue form and may even have a radio. To use these pedometers it is necessary to programme them. You will need to input your own step length so the distance can be calculated.
To measure your step length choose a location where you can take at least ten normal steps e.g. a hall, corridor or path. Stand with both feet close together. Place a chalk mark on the ground at the heel of your right foot. Step it out for ten steps starting with your right foot. Place a chalk mark at the toe of your left foot. Measure the distance between the chalk marks and divide by ten. This is your step length. When you input this measurement into your pedometer the device will be able to calculate distance travelled.
If you are using a simple step counter you can easily calculate the distance. Using a calculator multiply the number of steps taken by your step length and divide by 63360, if you are measuring in inches. This will tell you how many miles you have done. Taking your step length as 30 inches if you did 10,000 steps you would have covered approximately 3.2 miles. If you are measuring in centimetres multiply your step length by the number of steps taken and divide by 100.000. That will give you your distance in kilometres. For example if you do 10,000 steps and your step length is 45 centimetres long you have completed 4.5 kilometres.
Attach the pedometer securely to your waistband just over your hip. Check it for accuracy by counting a number of steps and then check what has been recorded.
Before you buy a pedometer be clear beforehand what you want it to do. The more functions it can perform the more difficult it will be to use. Ask the advice and help of the sales person. Do not choose the credit card type of pedometer. You cannot use them if you have no pocket in your trousers or skirt. They re-set to zero if you bend or stretch and so are most frustrating. As pedometers sometimes may dislodge from the waistband and are easily lost try to buy one that has a strap which securely attaches to your clothes.
Enjoy your walking and have fun with your pedometer!