How to Use a Pedometer to Start a Walking Program

Walk to improve your health

Believe it or not, spring is on its way.  The warmer temperatures already this week may inspire you to get outside and get some exercise. If walking is your sport of choice, use a pedometer to improve your level of fitness and measure your progress .

How to Buy a Pedometer

Pedometers come in many different price ranges, but an inexpensive model is really all you need to measure your steps per day.  You can find one at your local sporting goods store for less than $20. Most pedometers attach to your belt or waistband.  As you move through your daily activities, it measures the number of steps you take.

Figure Out Your Steps Per Day

The first time you wear your pedometer, don’t be worried about adding extra steps or trying to get the number too high.  Just measure a typical day’s activity to establish your starting point.

Activity Categories

  • Less than 5000 steps = sedentary
  • 5000-7499  = low active
  • 7500-9999 = somewhat active
  • More than 10,000 = active
  • More than 12,500 = highly active

Set a goal to improve your health by moving up at least one category.  For example, if you took 6000 steps on the first day you wore your pedometer, that means you started in the “low active” category.  Set a goal to walk 7,500 steps or more in order to move into the “somewhat active” category.   Once you reach that goal, see if you can set a new goal and continue to make progress.

Achieve a Moderate Walking Pace

Once you find yourself in the “active” category, start to measure the pace of your walks.  To improve your health, experts generally recommend 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity physical activity.  So how do you know if you are walking at a moderate intensity?

Researchers have found that moderate intensity walking can be achieved at a pace of 100 steps per minute, or 3000 steps in 30 minutes.  But, you don’t need to complete all 30 minutes in one session.  Three sessions of 1000 steps in 10 minutes can also be used to meet the recommended goal .

Sources:

Simon J. Marshall, et al. “Translating Physical Activity Recommendations into a Pedometer-Based Step Goal.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine, May 2009.

Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR Jr. “How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health.” Sports Medicine , 2004;34(1):1-8..

(Photo credit: phaewilk/Morguefile)

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Weight Loss: What’s In It For Me?

Jot down your thoughts about losing weight.

Are you thinking about losing weight?  Even if you’re not sure that you are ready to go on a diet, it’s a good idea to identify the things that have motivated you to even consider it.  The  “What’s In It For Me” list becomes a great motivator to keep you on track throughout the entire weight loss process.

How to Make a “What’s In It For Me” List

Ask yourself a few questions to come up with a list of at least three reasons that you may want to lose weight.

  • How will my health improve if I lose weight?  Your health care provider at North Memorial may have suggested a weight loss plan for you.  For many people, weight loss decreases their risk of heart problems, diabetes and certain forms of cancer.  It can also help to lower blood pressure and improve quality of life.
  • How will my relationships change if I lose weight?  Will losing weight allow you to become more active with friends and family?  Will weight loss help you to have more fun with kids or grandkids?   Will you be more comfortable in your workplace if you drop a few pounds?
  • Will I feel better about myself if I lose weight?  For some people, a single event may be the incentive for weight loss.  Weddings and high school reunions are common motivators.  But once the single event has passed, many people notice that they enjoy improved confidence and a better quality of life after they lost weight.

Once you’ve got your list, post it in a place where you see it on a regular basis.  It may help you to take the first step towards changing your eating habits and increasing your activity level to lose weight.

If you are already on a healthy weight loss plan, check in with the list periodically and acknowledge the progress you’ve made towards reaching each one of the incentives.

Stay tuned for the new North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website coming soon.  You’ll find plenty of diet tips and exercise advice.  Check back here for updates or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to hear the latest news.

Photosource: ppdigital/Morguefile

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

Are you thinking about going on a diet? Do you feel like you should lose weight, but you’re not sure if you’re ready?  Starting a weight loss plan takes commitment.  But there are a few simple changes that you can make today that will improve your health in a big way.

Check out this video from the Exercise is Medicine facebook contest that took place last year.  The winning entry called “Choices” shows how easy it is to make little changes that have a big impact.  By starting with small steps, you may find yourself getting motivated to take on greater weight loss challenges.

Stay tuned for the new North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website coming soon.  You’ll find plenty of diet tips and exercise advice.  Check back here for updates or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to hear the latest news.