The UK’s NHS recommends that people try to walk 10,000 steps a day to keep fitter and meet exercise targets. How can using fitness pedometers help?
According to the NHS, walking 10,000 steps a day is a good way to keep fit and healthy. On average, however, most people only manage between 3,000-5,000 steps daily. Using fitness pedometers to count each step and monitor progress may make it easier for some to achieve this target. Why is walking a good form of exercise and how can a pedometer help?
Why Take 10,000 Steps a Day?
Walking can help both children and adults to burn off energy and calories and can also boost stamina and overall fitness. This can help avoid some serious medical conditions such as heart disease. The recommended daily step count of 10,000 a day could help burn off between 300 to 400 calories. This is a free, flexible and easy way to take exercise. But, working out how many steps are currently being made and how many more will be needed to achieve this target may be harder.
Using Fitness Pedometers to Track Steps
A simple pedometer may be a good way of helping to track daily steps. Basic models are designed to simply measure each step that is taken on a running total basis. This may help assess current daily totals and how much effort will be needed to hit the 10,000 target. Trying to walk just a little more every day could see incremental increases and pedometers can be a great motivator to keep putting in the work to get the desired results.
Which Types of Step Pedometer to Choose
Most standard pedometers will clip to a belt or jacket although some devices can be attached to shoes which may suit some better. A basic model will simply measure steps until they are reset; others may come with the ability to “talk” or with tracking software that allows data to be built up over time. More advanced features can also include:
- calorie calculators
- heart rate monitors
- panic buttons
Some other devices such as watches, MP3 players and radios may also come with a built-in pedometer and there are some mobile phone apps that may help measure steps.
It may, however, be wise to consider how useful additional features will be before buying a step pedometer. Paying more for “bangs and whistles” is only really cost-effective if they have a use. Accuracy and performance can also be important factors and it may be worth checking reviews to see what others think about short-listed devices before making a purchase. Buying online may also help to cut costs.
How to Meet the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge
Fitness pedometers can measure steps but they can’t make them happen. Those that need or want to walk more may find it useful to:
- Ditch the car or, if this is not possible, park further away to build a walk into a journey.
- Take the stairs instead of lifts/elevators.
- Walk across the office to talk to colleagues instead of sending emails.
- Get out of the office during lunch hours/out of the house during the day to take a walk.
Kids can benefit from the 10,000 steps initiative as much as adults. They are recommended to take 60 minutes of exercise a day and walking can be a part of this target. Families may find it useful to join the free NHS Walk4Life program to learn more.