Every little step counts!
Did you ever think about using a pedometer? This small accessory is worn on a belt close to the hip. It counts the number of times the hip tilts/swings and records the number of steps taken. The average number of steps taken a day is a good indicator of the amount of physical activity a person does. Just by wearing a pedometer, you are constantly reminded of the importance of moving, and this encourages you to move more. Pedometers are quite inexpensive (less than $20) and relatively reliable.
Here’s how to derive the benefits of a pedometer:
1. To determine the average number of steps you take a day, wear your pedometer for three days from the minute you get out of bed until you return to bed. (Avoid wearing it in the car or during training). One of the three days should be on the weekend, or a day off, as your activity level may vary on these days.
2. Add up the number of steps taken during these three days and divide it by three to know the average number of steps you take in a day.
3. Based on your average, try to increase the number of steps by 250 to 500 a day.
4. One to two weeks later, try to add another 250 to 500 steps, and so on.
According to Kino-Québec, a person’s lifestyle can be established depending on the number of steps he or she takes a day:
- 5,000 or less steps a day: a sedentary lifestyle.
- Between 5,000 and 7,499 steps a day; a slightly active lifestyle. This number represents daily activity, but does not take sports and recreational physical activities into account.
- Between 7,500 and 9,999 steps a day: a moderately active lifestyle. This number includes daily activity and recreational physical activities.
- 10,000 steps and more: an active lifestyle.
- Around 12,500 steps a day: very active lifestyle.
In a study* performed on women aged 50, researchers observed that those who walked the most had a lower percentage of body fat, and that the average body mass index (BMI) of the women who walked more than 10,000 steps a day fell into the range for normal body weight (that is, between 18.5 and 25).
So, let’s say that every little step counts!
By Karine Larose
* Thompson D.L., J.Rakow et S.M. Perdue, “Relationship Between Accumulated Walking and Body Composition in Middle-Aged Women”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol.36, no.5, 2004, p.911-914.