Why You Should Start Pedometer Walking

Walking is unarguably one of the best forms of physical activity there is:  it’s simple, inexpensive and suitable for unfit and obese people.

Walking also has numerous reported health benefits: it lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure, effectively shrinks the waistline, reduces the likelihood of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and helps fight stress and depression.

Ok, you probably already believe that walking is good for you. But what is so special about pedometer walking?

Why Pedometer Walking Is So Effective

Everyone knows how hard it can be to change your lifestyle for the better. Researchers know that too, but they have also found out that measuring your daily steps with a pedometer is an effective way to increase physical activity. One study concluded that pedometer users walked an additional mile compared with walkers who didn’t use pedometers.

There is one reservation though: you have to set step goals and record your daily steps for this to work. Just carrying your pedometer with you isn’t enough.

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There are many reasons why pedometers are so effective.

According to researcher Catrina Tudor-Locke, one reason is that pedometers are simple to set up and use. I can’t but agree with Tudor Locke, especially when you compare pedometers with heart rate monitors. It took me 3 hours to learn how to use my first heart rate monitor, while it took me perhaps 20 minutes to make my pedometer ready to use.

Another reason is that pedometers are inexpensive. You can get accurate pedometers starting as low as $20. You don’t always have to spend hundreds of dollars to own a good fitness gadget! (It’s easy to find cheap pedometers, but I wouldn’t bother with them).

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The last and perhaps the most important reason for their effectiveness it that pedometers give you immediate and understandable feedback on your activity or inactivity. Even my 4-year old niece had no difficulty understanding how my pedometer works and my reasons for using it. She actually used it to argue I should get up form the sofa and play with her!

I want to mention one more advantage of using pedometers:  even if you don’t have time for long stretches of “formal” exercise during the day, it’s pretty easy to sneak physical activity into your day and still be able to monitor your progress.

In other words, pedometers are effective motivators.

Personally, I think of my pedometer as a personal pacesetter. Every morning I wear my pedometer around my neck and start chasing my daily step goal. 🙂

Best Wishes,

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P.S. If you consider pedometer walking, do yourself a favor – get a good pedometer!

The One Fitness Gadget You Should Have – Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer

I have had my eye on the Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer (walking style ii step counter) for quite some time. Two weeks ago I finally purchased my own piece.

I specifically wanted this Omron model because you can put in your pocket, bag or wear it around your neck and it still works fine. I own a Silva pedometer that’s in working order, but it has one flaw that makes it extremely frustrating to use. The Silva pedometer is attached to your belt with a clip, but if you attach it even in a slightly wrong position, its stops recording your steps. I could never know it was really recording my steps before I unattached it and checked the numbers.

And as far as I understand, the new models of digital Omron pedometers use accelerometers rather than mechanical pendulums to sense the movements, so they should be more accurate. They are less likely to count random bodily movements as steps.

Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer – What It Tracks

The Omron pedometer records many other things than just steps:

  1. Number of steps
  2. Number of aerobic steps
  3. Calories consumed
  4. Fat burned
  5. Distance walked

The Hj-113 model also comes with a 7-day memory, which allows you to check your numbers from the last seven days. The pedometer automatically resets the counter to zero at midnight.

Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer – Readying It for Use

Setting the pedometer ready for use was pretty simple and fast. It took me just a few minutes to read through  the instructions (okay, I confess I just gazed at them and then fumbled along!), put the lithium battery in place (included), set the time and weight. The most time consuming phase was measuring the length of my stride. After that my pedometer was ready to use.

What I most love about my Omron pocket pedometer is the fact that I can wear it around my neck in the morning and forget it till it’s time to go to bed in the evening.

Wearing my pedometer has been a great way to motivate myself to keep moving as much as possible during the day. I even created an Excel chart to track my daily steps. I have no actual baseline against which to measure, but I have been much more active after I got the pedometer than before it. Even rain and fog won’t prevent me from taking walks these days! 🙂

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P.S. In my opinion, giving a pedometer as a  Christmas gift is a terrific idea, far better than buying some big ungainly piece of fitness equipment! Click here to check Omron Hj-113 pocket pedometers at  Amazon.com.