Learn how to motivate and measure your progress when you walk.
Walking is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to get more physical activity each day. A pedometer can help you achieve your physical activity goals by tracking the number of steps you take each day.
Which pedometer? You get what you pay for, so avoid the $2 pedometers. There are hundreds of brands and models with many different feature to choose from. A simple step counter in the $15-20 price range will serve you well for a long time.
Calibrate your pedometer: It’s important to make sure your pedometer accurately counts your steps. There are 2 methods you can use:
- Walking: Wear the pedometer according to the manufacturer’s directions (usually on top of the hip bone), set the pedometer to 0, start walking and count 100 steps. Check that the pedometer measured 100. Adjust your step count to reflect the actual steps recorded on the pedometer.
- Shaking: Set the pedometer to 0, pack it in the original shipping container, shake the box 100 times then check to see if it measured 100. Adjust if needed.
Calibrate yourself: Wear your pedometer for a week and record your number of steps at the end of each day. Use your average steps per day as your starting point. Set a goal and increase your steps per day gradually to reach your goal. Although many programs recommend a goal of 10,000 steps per day, you don’t have to start out with that goal. If your average steps per day is 3,000 consider setting your goal at 5,000 per day. Work up slowly to reach 9,000-10,000 steps per day by adding 500 steps every other week.
Record progress: Keep track of your steps per day on a simple chart or calendar. This can help keep you motivated to walk every day and serve to hold you accountable to yourself and your physical activity goals.