Lose Weight with a Pedometer or Heart Rate Monitor

Keeping your heart rate elevated with a heart rate monitor or counting your daily steps using a pedometer are great motivators for exercise and weight loss.

Gadgets such as pedometers and heart rate monitors can be beneficial additions to your exercise program. The ability to see what your heart rate is doing during exercise using a heart rate monitor or how many steps you are walking with a pedometer can increase motivation and help burn more calories.

Shed Pounds with a Heart Rate Monitor

If you are a runner or cyclist and are trying to burn more calories during a workout you may want to purchase a heart rate monitor.

Heart rate monitors come in many different brands, styles and costs. Some of the more well-known brands are Polar and Garmin. For those who only want to view their heart rate then the least expensive model will work fine.

Once you have your monitor, let’s put it on. Adjust the strap around your chest and turn the watch monitor on. Once you have warmed up, the monitor should read your heart rate. If not, add a little water underneath the chest strap.

Before you start exercising, let’s determine the low- and high-end of your target heart rate. Using the Karvonen formula can be a helpful way to establish your heart rate during exercise. Refer to the American Council on Exercise site for determining your resting and exercise heart rates using this formula.

Now that you have your exercise heart rate low- and high-end range, use these numbers to create different workouts to shed those unwanted pounds. Try keeping your heart rate in the low range for one to one-and-a-half hours while riding a bike on an easy spin or doing a slow jog. Try interval training, where you keep your heart rate in the low range for 1 minute then increase the speed or incline to elevate you heart rate to the high range for another one to three minutes, doing this for 30-45 minutes.

Shed Pounds with a Pedometer

When purchasing a pedometer, keep in mind that while some pedometers will track calories burned in addition to steps, other pedometers will only count steps.

Once you have your pedometer it’s time to put it to use. Clip it to your waist band or top of the shoe and start walking. Wear it all day to track your accumulated steps. Walk for three days in a row and figure out your average step count and work up from there. On average 2000 to 2500 steps equals a mile.

A good indicator to follow when determining your step goals was established by Catrine Tudor-Locke and David R. Bassett, Jr. in the 2004, Sports Medicine article “How Many Steps/Day Are Enough?: Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health”:

  • Under 5000 steps = mostly sedentary individuals
  • 5000 to 7499 steps = people who do not exercise but may move around a bit more on a daily basis
  • 7500 to 9999 steps = people whose jobs are more active or who may perform a low level of exercise activity
  • 10,000 steps and over = people who exercise on a daily basis and are considered active
  • 12,500 steps a day = “highly active” individuals

To shed pounds and keep them off you will need to slowly increase your daily steps from your current number to 10,000 steps a day, which is about 5 miles. If you are in the sedentary category, begin increasing your daily steps to the next category to make it to 7499. Do this for 2 weeks or until you feel comfortable progressing to the next level. There are many walking programs found online, such as The Walking Site, that can help you set and meet your goals.

Whether you use a heart rate monitor or a pedometer to help shed those extra pounds, consistency is the key. Keep track of your progress with a daily fitness diary or find a friend to exercise with to help keep you motivated. Build your day around what exercise you have in mind and as time passes exercise will become a daily part of your life.

Always remember to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Stop if you feel dizzy, nauseated, or light-headed. Consult with your doctor about any medications you are taking to learn whether your heart rate might be affected during exercise. Remember to stay hydrated.


  1. Tudor-Locke, Catrine, & Bassett, Jr., David R. (2004). “How Many Steps/Day Are Enough?: Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health.” Sports Medicine.
  2. American Council on Exercise
  3. The Walking Site



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