Somewhere way back in a drawer, do you have one of these?
Would you consider bringing it back to the front of the drawer?
Many studies have been done on the benefits of using a pedometer and the bottom line is this: People who start a walking program for their health get more out of it by using a pedometer.
1. “People who use pedometers increase their physical activity by about 2,000 steps a day, about a mile,” said one study author Dr. Dena M. Bravata, a senior research scientist at Stanford University. “They also seem to lower their blood pressure more and lose more weight.”
This conclusion came from an analysis of 26 studies with a total of 2,767 participants. Most were observational studies, which means the researchers simply watched what the volunteers did, while eight had some scientific controls. Pedometer users in the controlled trials increased their physical activity by 2,491 steps per day more than those who didn’t use the devices. The comparable increase for pedometer users in observational trials was 2,183 steps per day.
2. Pedometer users had their systolic blood pressure — the higher number — fall by an average of 3.8 millimeters. A 2-mm reduction is associated with a 10 percent reduction in stroke mortality and a 7 percent reduction in death from blood vessel conditions.
3. Pedometer users reduced their body-mass index by 0.4 percent — about 2.5 pounds for a 195-pound individual.
I know that when I wear a pedometer, I am aware of it all day long and I want the number on there to be big, so I move more on purpose. I even do an extra few jumping jacks or park further away just to see the number go up. Pretty stupid, I agree, but it works! And that is exactly what studies found. “One major advantage of pedometer use in an exercise program is that it caters to the American quest for numbers,” said James Hill, director of the University of Colorado Center for Human Nutrition and co-founder of America on the Move, an organization dedicated to increasing physical activity.
America on the Move is a wonderful little “app” through which you can “walk” your way across America, stopping at different landmarks along the way and learn. You can choose the amount of steps you want to challenge yourself with daily and pick a trail accordingly. Every night, you record your steps and move forward across the country. Lots of fun. You have 6 weeks to finish your trail. If you are interested in signing up, here is the website. It’s free, by the way.
Simply put, pedometers increase motivation for physical activity by putting it in terms of a number that you can watch it and manage.
So, how about pulling yours out of the drawer for the next six weeks? You might enjoy flowers, and deer, and sunshine, and neighbors like never before! And make your dog real happy in the process…