There is no question that walking is good for you, and the more you walk the more benefits you will see. Regular walking has been proven to lead to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, strengthen muscles, lose weight and more.
Many of us have difficulty in knowing whether we are walking enough each day or how many steps we have taken in our daily routines. Pedometers are an excellent way to accurately measure the steps you have taken each day and when used correctly can have huge benefits to your overall health. Not only are they great for feedback but studies have proven that owning a pedometer can lead you to taking more daily steps. They are also simple to use and suitable for all ages and fitness levels making it a must have for the whole family.
If you’re reading this then you are likely well aware of the benefits of walking and what pedometers can do. Perhaps you have a pedometer but you’re not sure how to use it correctly or how best to use it. If that’s the case then this article is just for you so continue reading to learn how to get the most out of your pedometer.
GOAL SETTING AND PLANS
Setting goals is essential for any aspect of your health journey as it gives you direction and a target to aim for, these goals can be short, medium or long term. Depending on your health goals, you need to set yourself smaller tasks that ultimately lead to you reaching your goals.
Start off by going through your usual routines to get a sense of what your current daily steps amount is and write these down on a notepad or step diary. Once you have your baseline, gradually aim to increase your daily step target over a 2 week period by small increments. Then work toward adding larger increments until you get to a daily target you are happy with that is sustainable and achievable over a longer period of time.
A common goal is to reach 10,000 steps a day which equates to around 5 miles. While this is a widely accepted target, it is worth noting that every individual is different and for some, even 5000 steps can be beneficial. In fact, a research study has shown that adults can experience significant health benefits from 7000 steps per day. Your personal daily step target should be based on your usual daily average with a gradual increase on top of this.
Whatever goal you decide for yourself, make sure it is realistic and achievable. Achieving your goals will naturally keep you motivated and wanting to continue to improve. Always look to set new goals once you have achieved your previous ones.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
We have all heard the saying “Consistency is the Key to Success” and when it comes to achieving your health goals this is so true. If you are consistent with reaching your daily step targets then you are well on your way to improving your health. Using your pedometer on a daily basis to record your steps is a great way to monitor your steps each day and to check whether you are consistently reaching your target.
WEAR IT RIGHT
Continuing on with consistency, wearing your pedometer in the same place on yourself each day will provide you with the most reliable data to compare each day. Our team have registered millions of steps during our years of developing and testing pedometers and we have always found that wearing a pedometer around your waist is the best position and leads to the most accurate and reliable results. Wearing pedometers in your pockets or around your neck can sometimes lead to variable readings.
Consider testing your pedometer occasionally by doing a simple step test. Reset your pedometer and take 50 continuous steps at your normal walking speed. Repeat this process several times. An accurate pedometer should be within 1 to 3% every time. Check your screen and if the display is beginning to fade, it might be due for a battery change.
Good quality pedometers have a built in error-step prevention which stops them from counting minor movements and small vibrations which would otherwise be counted as steps leading to a higher, inaccurate step count at the end of each day.
Let’s face it, when we’re continuously doing the same walk or activity over and over again things can become boring and we can quickly become unmotivated. This is where so many of us fail as we get stuck in the same old routines, lose motivation and give up. Adding variety to your walks or daily routines will keep things refreshed and more enjoyable. Try parking further away from work and walk more, take the stairs, increase or decrease your walking intensity and adding ankle weights are all useful ways to switch things up a bit.
MAKE WALKING FUN
Meet up with friends to go for a walk or joining a walking group will no doubt lead to more enjoyable walks and if you’re having fun you will want to continue doing it. Adding a bit of competition to your walks is another great way to make it fun, compete with your friends to see who can get the most steps in a day, week or month. Listening to music is also a great way to enjoy a walk, find a nice location, put on your favourite playlist or audio book and enjoy the journey.
DOS AND DON'TS
- Do - Wear your pedometer daily and in the same place
- Do - Set realistic and achievable goals
- Do - Write down your achievements
- Do - Share these achievements to encourage others and make yourself more accountable
- Do - Have fun
- Don’t - Drop or wet your pedometer
- Don’t - Give Up!
Pedometers are a fantastic and affordable way to keep track of your fitness goals and to help motivate you to walk more. They are simple and easy to use whether your aim is to lose weight, improve your heart health or just to get out more. Using them effectively can make huge improvements to your life.