Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:
Healthy Living

An Easy Way to Move More

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 12/28/2010
Last Updated: 11/12/2018

Share on:

With all the types of equipment at the gym, who knew it would take a small, inexpensive clip-on device to get me to be more active? Surprise – I’m more goal-oriented than I thought.

I’ve used pedometers in the past, like one time when my husband and I visited Italy.  He’d click this handy little record-keeper onto his belt each morning when we set out for our daily sightseeing and we’d play a guessing game at the end of each day – how many miles do you think we walked? The final tally always surprised - and delighted - us.   Six miles, really? That earned a gelato after dinner. Ten miles today? Must have been all those stairs. Our little guessing game motivated us to push ourselves just a little bit further each day and feel ever-so-ready to sit and relax over a special dinner each night, filled with all the things one comes to Italy to eat, bar none.

But when we returned home, the pedometer broke, life got busy, and like all good vacations, it was relegated to a distant memory.

Until I received an Oregon Scientific Calorie Coach pedometer in the mail last month to test out. The company has partnered with yoga lifestyle company Gaiam to create some pretty stylish, easy-to-use workout gadgets for women. This cool-looking lime green gadget not only measures my distance, but also keeps a tally of total calories burned.

  The pedometer brought back memories of that splendid trip to Italy; I decided that although I might not be going back anytime soon, I could use a bit of extra motivation to move my body more, especially since the days were getting shorter and colder and my outdoor walks were becoming less and less likely, especially after getting pounded this past weekend with some significant snowfall.

Besides, I had read lots of studies touting the benefits of wearing a pedometer. Like one in which 400 women were given pedometers and the goal of walking 10,000 steps a day (the amount recommended by many health experts). After eight weeks, the women reported feeling more energetic and experienced less frequent illness and as a bonus, weight loss.  Similarly, when researchers studied 200 people who wore pedometers and then measured their body fat, fitness level and blood pressure, they found improvements in all three, as if they had done structured exercise.  And in another study which involved senior adults with knee osteoarthritis who participated in  arthritis self-management class, the group who were given pedometers not only increased their steps by 23 percent but showed improved walking and greater leg strength – while the other (non-pedometer) group was actually walking less than when they started. Still another study showed that pedometer-wearers increased their physical activity by over 2,000 steps per day (that’s equivalent to about a mile).

So now, as soon as I get dressed in the morning, I clip on my trusty pedometer. It’s almost like having a private coach tagging along, coaxing me to remember to move more. When I pull into a parking lot, I opt for the space farther away so I can log in more steps. And when someone in my house needs something from the downstairs freezer or leaves something in their car in the garage, I’m all over it. My pedometer even gets me out of the house when the weather outside is frigid.

After all, the dog can’t rely on that tiny patch of grass right outside my front door forever. A dog needs her exercise, too.

Comments

A perfect New Year's resolution~

What a handy toy! I'd walk all over if I had one, out of sheer joy of watching the steps add up. :)

I love this idea. I don't know why I don't have one. They are so affordable, and I can definitely see how it could inspire me to move more.

My iPod Nano has a built in pedometer. Sadly, it doesn't seem to work particularly well.

Huh, I've never used a pedometer. So you really find it helpful? I'm thinking about downloading some strength training apps to help along my workouts. Have you ever tried that? Just curious what you'd recommend.

This seems like a great motivating tool that I'd like to try. I walk a lot anyway, but I can imagine myself going the long way around just to add up those steps!

I'd like to walk in so many places. A friend recently posted pics of the Santa Monica Mountains. I would love to walk all over California! I live in New York and we walk a ton. I'd be very curious to learn how many miles I walk a day. Thank you. Keep churning the butter.

Oh. My. Goodness. My cousin was in town from the east coast and she was wearing a digital monitor and it was awesome! She said it really made her more aware of the amount of walking she does, as she has a desk job that requires a lot of sitting. The one pictured here looks even better than hers (and hers was pretty great) because it is more compact.

We just recently started monitoring our electricity use and we found that the new awareness has led to drastic changes! I imagine this would be true with a pedometer too. Just knowing it's there would lead you to walk more! I'd love to have one!

Love this! It's clearly what I need. I walk several times a week, but can obviously do more.

I love to walk during lunchtime in our complex here at work. It makes me motivated to finish out my day with energy and a smile. One lap is 1/2 mile, so I try to do 6 laps, but when in a pinch, one lap makes me feel so much better.

We are located in a little town in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I love to walk on the Tree Farm trail at Horseshoe Pond. And in our woods---at night. Lovely, simply lovely.

I so want that lovely looking lime green gadget. And I'm a huge walker. Heading out to climb my favorite climb we locals dub "Butt Burn Hill" -- it just goes up, up, and up for ages.

Happy New Year!

Pages

Add new comment