Walking for weight loss and fitness – Pedometer basics

A pedometer is a neat little gadget that will help you track how much walking you have done in a day. It can be a helpful tool in getting into and sticking with an exercise schedule. Let’s take a look at how you can use a pedometer to get into shape.

Why should I walk? Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to get into. You don’t need any special equipment, just a pair of comfortable shoes. There are no new techniques to learn, since you already know how to walk. Walking is a very low impact activity, that doesn’t put much stress on your joints. You can start out at any pace that is comfortable to you and walk for as long as you’d like. Over time you will gradually increase the intensity of your walking workout by walking for longer periods of time, increasing the speed as well as the incline you walk at.

What should I keep in mind when purchasing a pedometer? You can spend anywhere from $10 – $100 and more for a pedometer. A basic model will work just fine, as long as it tracks your steps accurately. Basic models may only give you the number of steps you walked, while more advancedmodels will also calculate the distance walked, calories burnt and usually also keep track of several days worth of walking. Some even come with some tracking software you can use on your computer. It will be up to you to decide how many bells and whistles you would like on your pedometer.

How do I wear the pedometer properly? There are two ways to wear a pedometer that have been working well for me and have given me very accurate results. The first is to wear the pedometer on your belt or directly on your waistband right over your front pocket. The pedometer should be in line with your foot. The second option is to clip the pedometer to the top of your shoe. On the side, right below my ankle is the most comfortable position for me. Some people also get good results by carrying the pedometer in their back pocket or clipping it to their waistband on their side. Try something that seems comfortable to you and walk 100 steps. If your count and the pedometers count are within 5 steps of each other, you’re in good shape.

How do I get started? Establish a base figure of how many steps a day you take right now on average. To do this, wear your pedometer each day for a week and record your daily steps. Calculate your daily average by adding up all the steps you walked for the week and dividing the number by 7. Now that you have a base figure to start with, let’s see how you can increase the steps you take each day.

How should I increase my steps? Increase the amount of steps you take by adding 1000 – 2000 extra steps per week until you reach 10,000 steps if you are trying to stay fit and healthy or 12,000 if you are trying to loose weight. 2000 extra steps may seem like a lot at first glance, but you can spread them out over the course of the day. Park a little further away while running errands or when you go to work. Take a quick stroll during your lunch break or walk around the block with your spouse in the evening. Chase your kids around the yard. Once you get started, you will find all sorts of creative ways to get a few more steps in here and there.

Now what? Once you have worked your way up to your target steps, stick with it. Of course there will be days when you can’t walk 10,000 steps, but do your best to average 10,000 a day during the week. If you didn’t walk much during the week, go for a hike on the weekend. Pretty soon walking will become a habit for you and you will miss your daily walk when you can’t work it in.

Susanne Myers runs Walking Off The Weight, a resource site for anyone interested in walking for weight loss. Visit the site for more information and sign up for her weekly walking tips at http://www.walkingofftheweight.com

Article source: eZineArticles.com