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Pedometers 101 A pedometer counts the steps that a person takes, and from that you can estimate approximate distance traveled on foot. Why use a pedometer? Research has found that a pedometer is a great tool for motivating individuals to be physically active. Pedometers allow a person to measure their physical activity and set specific, measurable goals. The visual feedback provided by the pedometer helps people to monitor their progress and facilitates adherence to a walking program. How does a pedometer actually count steps? Most pedometers have a small weighted "arm" mechanism that is suspended by a spring that moves up and down as you walk. It is specifically designed to be sensitive to the motion of walking. Each time a step is taken, the arm moves down, touches a contact and a step is counted. The accuracy of this method has improved dramatically over the years - however there are still some pedometers that are better than others! Why 10,000 steps? 10,000 steps is the recommended number of steps that the average healthy adult should be accomplishing per day. The number 10,000 approximates the recommended physical activity guidelines of accumulating 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day, for the prevention of cardiovascular disease....but remember these step counts do no measure INTENSITY of physical activity. How to wear a pedometer For most pedometers, the best place to wear them is midway between the hip and belly button of your non-dominant leg (that is the opposite leg to which you would kick a ball; for most of us it is worn on the left leg). Having said that - some brands perform better on the dominant leg, and the best spot may vary from person to person. The best way to check is to do the "step test", which is as easy as it sounds. Put your pedometer on in what you consider a good position. Count aloud as you take 100 steps. Check the pedometer. It should read between 97 - 103 steps (3% error). If it is not within this range, move the pedometer (forward or back a little bit on the same hip, or try the other hip) and repeat the step test until you find your preferred pedometer position. The pedometer will only accurately count steps if it is on straight (not on an angle), and if the waistband/belt that it is attached to is fairly snug. A loose waist band will result in an inaccurate step count. If your pedometer has a safety strap - make sure to clip it onto your waistband to prevent the pedometer from accidentally getting knocked off! How NOT to wear a pedometer DO NOT: - put the pedometer in your pocket. - attach it by its security strap only. - wear it on a slanted pocket - position it where your abdomen will push it out of the vertical position Pedometer limitations and reasons for error - there is no measure of intensity, pattern, type, or duration of activity - skewing of steps due to motor vehicle travel - brand specific over/underestimations - not effective in measuring activities such as swimming, cycling, or weight lifting - step count accuracy varies Factors that contribute to error - Speed - Pedometers are much less accurate at slow speeds i.e.~2mph. For optimum results pedometers are much more accurate at faster speeds i.e. ~80m/min - Age & Gait - Elderly people tend to walk at a slower shuffling pace, which can cause less vertical hip accelerations and decrease the accuracy of the step count -Footwear and Ground Surface - There is a decrease in forces on a soft ground or if wearing cushy shoes and an increase in forces with bare feet/hard shoes or cement ground. These factors can inaccurately record steps taken -Travelling by Car - Clothing- too tight or too loose - Position- as mentioned above Most popular pedometers (used in research) 1. Yamax Digiwalker 2. Walk4Life 3. New Lifestyles 4. Kenz Lifecorder Where to buy a pedometer In Yellowknife, Roy’s Audiotronic, Overlander Sports, The Source, Canadian Tire and Walmart Walk4Life http://www.walk4life.com/store/store_category.aspx?cat=2 New Lifestyles http://www.new-lifestyles.com/DIGIWALKER/FlashEnabled/sw200_order.html Stats and steps How many steps are necessary to burn off calories from our favourite foods? At approximately 20 steps per calorie, here are a few examples: Triscuit = 400 steps, 10 French fries = 2000 steps, 12 oz coke = 3020 steps, pizza slice = 6900 steps, super big gulp = 12000 steps, super-sized big Mac meal = 35080 steps. A few examples of activity step equivalents are listed below. Cycling at 5 mph = 50 steps/minute, cycling at 15 mph = 150 steps/minute, slow steady swim = 100 steps/minute, 40 minute brisk walk = 5000 steps = 238 calories Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults under 5000 steps/day = sedentary lifestyle 5000-7499 steps/day = low active 7500-9999 steps/day = somewhat active 10000 steps/day = active >12000 steps/day = highly active Conclusion Stepping it up helps to lose weight, but it cannot win the battle of the bulge without the help of sound nutrition.
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