Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10,000 Steps

Most days I wear a pedometer. I have a number of pedometers. Some just count steps, some convert steps to miles and others convert steps to miles and calculate an approximate calories burned. In the end, they all accomplish the same thing...they keep me moving.

I had once heard that people that wear a pedometer tend to be more active/take more steps, even on days that they don't wear their pedometer. This doesn't sound like a surprise to me. Being active and walking is just like any other activity, after a few days, it starts to become a habit. Things you modify in your routine, like parking in the furthest parking space at work or the store, stick and you do them even when you aren't wearing your pedometer. As with any habit though, if you go to long without wearing the pedometer and being aware of steps, it starts to fade.

When I first start to wear a pedometer (yes, I go through spurts of wearing it and not and I don't wear it 100% of the time), I find that the first few days my total step count is lower than I would have expected. Then, as a few days pass and I am more aware of how many steps I am taking, it gradually increases until I am exceeding 10,000 steps every day. When I'm not getting the steps I expect, I start to take the long way around the floor to the bathroom - I can either go right there or I can circle around the floor. I walk over to someones desk if I have a question instead of just calling. These may sound like little things, but they add up. On days where schedules align and weather cooperates, I can get a lot of steps in on my lunch hour walk - in fact it is something around 5000 steps achieved on the walk alone.

I don't put the pedometer on in the morning until I am walking out the door. It is hard to say how many steps I might not be counting, but it is just easier to leave it on the counter with my keys and grab it when I leave. I wear it at night until I am ready to head upstairs (that's when I take it off and leave it with my keys. : - )!) I actually was pretty surprised how many steps I take after work, when I am home. Between running up and down stairs and walking between the refrigerator and stove as I cook dinner, they really add up. Throw in a trip to the store or grocery or a walk around the block with the kids and there is a chance for more steps.

I have a friend at work that if she hasn't reached 10,000 steps, she doesn't allow herself to sit down and watch TV in the evening. Of course, she has an interesting work around, she marches in place, while watching TV to get to her 10,000 steps.

One other benefit of wearing a pedometer and tracking steps is earning Activity Points on Weight Watchers. If you reach 10,000 steps in a day and track it, it is worth 1 Activity Point. Somewhere around 14,000, it is worth 2 Points and if you are really active, you can get 3 Points for 20,000 steps. (I'm not entirely sure where the break points are with the steps, I just looked back at a few I had done.) The Activity Points are treated differently if you have steps associated with specific exercise instead of just across the full day.

Another benefit, to steal the words of someone commenting on Money Saving Mom's P90X on a budget post, is that pavement is free. You don't need to invest money to walk for exercise (shoes aside - but I just wear regular shoes, I guess you could argue I wear them quicker by putting on more miles, but it can't be that much quicker). Many of my pedometers have been free - I think I have one from Nature Made and one from Del Monte and actually two from different events at work - but even if you buy one, you can get one for a fairly reasonable price.

Staying active and burning more calories by wearing a pedometer, is frugal and works for me.

This post shared at Works For Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday.


Melinda said...

I love the line "pavement is free"! So true! I appreciate the WW points break down!

Dee said...

I need to get my pedometer back out. That's why I love to mow the lawn, I consider it excercise (and I get the straight lines that I like!) Thanks for the reminder!!