December 23, 2003
By Robert Reames, CSCS, *D, RTS1, CPT
Pedometers are an inexpensive and excellent way of tracking and measuring the amount of physical activity you achieve on a daily basis. You can measure the distance that you move throughout a given day in terms of miles or steps. Steps provide the most accurate measurement of your daily distance covered. The fact that taller people will cover more distance taking fewer steps than a person with a shorter stride makes measuring the amount of steps the best and most accurate for an individual. To accurately measure your stride length, simply measure off a distance of 20 feet (240 inches). Then count how many strides it takes to cover that distance and divide that number into 240. For example, if it took you 12 strides to cover this distance your stride length would be 20 inches.
Most people take anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 steps per day. The Surgeon General recommends that people get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day, which is roughly 10,000 steps per day (approximately 4 to 5 miles). This amount has been shown to help lower blood pressure, decrease body fat and increase aerobic fitness levels. This gives you a very realistically achievable goal to attain on a daily basis. For weight loss, you want to bump that amount up to between 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day.
Be consistent with this measurement daily. As you increase your daily activity, you increase the amount of calories you are burning, plain and simple. It’s fun to track this information and is a clear indication of the amount of movement you really do get throughout your day. If you are on the move and busy burning calories, then chances are you are minimizing activities that make you store calories such as over eating and leading a sedentary lifestyle. So, keep on walking! Keep on moving!
Disclaimer: All information and answers are given for educational purposes only. Your individual needs may vary. Always consult with your physician before starting or changing any exercise fitness programs and activities.