Keeping Track to Stay on Track

"Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness." - Earl of Derby

Pedometers can be a great tool to help you track your physical activity. Most people tend to think that they are more physically active than what they actually are. Thus, a pedometer will give you objective information about your overall activity throughout the day.

Summer is here and a perfect time for enjoying the longer days and the sunshine. Use the pedometer to help you see just how active you are and can be. Typically, you put your pedometer on when you get up in the morning. Attach it to your waistband or your belt in front of your hip. Visualize a line going from the middle of your kneecap up the middle of your thigh to your hip bone. This is where you want to place your pedometer. Then, you wear it ALL day. If you change your clothes, just reattach your pedometer. At the end of the day, chart your number of steps. The goal for weight loss is to reach 10, 000 steps per day.

If you find that in your day to day living you achieve about 4000 steps, challenge yourself to increase those steps by about 1000/week to reach the 10,000 mark. Here are some suggestions that will rather quickly help you to reach your goal of increased steps:

  • Park your car a little further away
  • Walk to work
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Deliver a message to a coworker in person vs via email
  • Take the dog for a 15 minute walk each evening
  • Take your children to the park
  • Go for a bicycle ride
  • Walk the golf course instead of riding in the cart

If you are a swimmer, of course you won’t be wearing your pedometer in the water. Likewise, if you are cycling, the pedometer does not track that. Use this conversion to track your steps:

For every one minute of swimming or biking, you can add an additional 150 steps.

Remember, the goal is 10,000 steps a day. 2000 steps are equal to one mile. The average person burns about 100 calories per mile.

So…be active and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and the long days of summer!

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.