Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 11/02/2013
I need all the help I can get when it comes to gadgets that might help me get and stay fit. Although I'm educated in the field of foods and nutrition and I eat well (OK, maybe too much) I struggle with my weight because I simply don't move enough. My work keeps me in front of a computer from 12 to 14 hours a day so I have to make a real effort to take breaks, take walks and get moving. The one tool I use that gives me the most benefit and encouragement is my pedometer.
I'm a goal oriented person and I'm a "measure-aholic". If 10,000 steps a day is my goal then I want to monitor that constantly to see how I'm doing. A pedometer allows me to do that. It's embarrassing to admit but I can't tell you how many times in the evening I get my husband to take a walk around the block with me because I need few hundred more steps. I've even paced back in forth along the length of the house to get that meter to click over to 10,000. If I didn't know I was almost at my goal (by watching my total) I'd not be motivated to go that extra mile (or extra feet) to get there.
The 10,000 steps a day campaign was started by Shape Up America. This non-profit organization founded in 1996 (by former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop) was created to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue and to provide responsible information on healthy weight management.
This fitness goal of 10,000 steps was created in response to the U.S. Surgeon General's report stating U.S. citizens are simply not active enough. The obvious question became, so how much is active enough? Early reports from the surgeon general said a 30 min "moderate intensity" walk, on top of your normal daily activities would improve your health. That does appear to be the case but that 30 minutes a day did not prove to be sufficient to for weight management. In fact the 30 minutes did not help in keeping a person from gaining weight, nor did it help a person who succeeded in weight loss to maintain their weight.
One thing I learned early on is that my typical daily activities don't get me even close to 10,000 steps a day; in fact my average is about 3000 - 4000 and sometimes as low as 2000. Even a 30 minute brisk walk won't boost that number above 7000 or 8000. On days I meet my fitness goal I have to take one or more walks that total about 3 miles. Those steps made where I'm huffing and puffing up a steep street provide more fitness benefit than those I make shuffling from my desk to the coffee pot but all those steps get me to my 10,000 a day goal.
I use walking as my preferred activity because it is easy to do. I did invest in a treadmill so if its too cold or too whatever out I can still clock in a couple miles on the machine. Any activity that gets you up and moving will improve your health. If you can get outdoors and get some fresh air, all the better. 10,000 steps is a beginning and you may want to increase that goal as you become more fit.
To Read More 10,000 Steps A Day:
Most pedometers you buy today are digital but there are a few mechanical versions available as well. The digital products offer more features and those will be focus of this discussion. I'm going to describe some specific brands with which I have personal experience.
*Accuracy: Rating is 0 to 5 stars, based on reviews by pedometer.com
Clearly these reviews only include a small number of pedometers on the market but they are a relevant selection.
You will probably have your own set of priorities when you purchase your pedometer. Here are mine.
The Fitbit is my latest (and current) pedometer. This is in many ways the best pedometer I've used but it does have a few downsides. First, the price was $99.00 which I feel is reasonable for the level of technology features.
I only used the Omron for a short period of time but long enough to learn the basics.
Ok this is a big, bulky yet adequate pedometer. If you just want the basics... steps. this is an OK
Adequately accurate. Tracks the basics, pretty easy to read. A big, square, kind of heavy unit so it is uncomfortable to wear. No frills, no software.