How Pedometers Help Walkers
Stay on Track by David Wahlberg -
Cox News Service
How many steps do you take each day?
The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 10,000
steps daily, but most Americans do half that.
Pager-size devices called pedometers are
helping more people hit their strides and lose a few pounds by making each step
"Walking is one of the easiest ways for
people to get started in physical activity," said Sandra Dockett, director of
chronic disease prevention and healthy aging services for the Fulton (Ga.)
County Department of Health and Wellness.
A lot of people feel they don't have time to
exercise, Docket said. When they use a pedometer, they discover they already
walk more than they thought.
"They help you get over the guilt and make
you see that you don't have to do that much more to meet the 10000 step goal,"
Pedometers are motivational gadgets designed
to cure the ills of a society grown slothful in part because of gadgets, from
garage door openers to TV remotes to "the clapper" to turn off lights.
Ranging in price from $10 to $40 (though
fancy ones with pace per mile and other features can cost $200 and up),
pedometers clip on and keep track of steps.
A spring-suspended arm moves up and down
with each rotation of the hip. All the wearer has to do is walk.
Some count only steps, while others
calculate distance, speed and calories burned. Most are accurate with step
counts but can be off with other measures such as distance, which relies on
inputting each wearer's average stride.
Elizabeth Graham, a 59-year-old diabetic
from Atlanta, started using a pedometer this year. She walks to the grocery
store, the post office and the bank. When she takes the bus, she tries to get
off one stop early and walk the rest.
The pedometer "helps me be more conscious of
the steps I'm taking," Graham said. "I need to stay active and use all these
body parts so I can continue to have them ...."
Cobb County schools in suburban Atlanta have
joined the pedometer craze, using them in physical education and science
classes, said Mike Tenoschok, supervisor of health and physical activity for
Pedometers level the playing field by giving
students individual fitness goals, Tenoschok said.
"If you're a nonathlete, you don't have to
worry about keeping up with the kids on the cross-country team," he said. And
that principle works with adults, too, he said.