How to Use a Pedometer to Get 10,000 Steps
Measuring Your StrideBasic or Fancy?
All pedometers are not created equal. They range from basic and inexpensive to jam-packed with bells and whistles. A bare-bones unit might simply measure steps, while a fancy one might measure steps, calories, miles, and heart rate. Just know that basic units can be equally complicated to set up, if not more so, because they're not as intuitive as the sophisticated versions.
Whatever the model, pedometers all work in a similar fashion by counting the electronic pulses each time you take a step, and multiplying those by your preprogrammed stride or step length. Here's a time to pull out those instructions that came with your pedometer, because some refer to "stride" and "step" interchangeably, while others distinguish "stride" as the distance between one heel striking once and then again, which would technically be two steps. You just don't want to be short-changing -- or cheating -- your total count.How to Measure Your Stride
The key to getting the best results from your new gadget is an accurate step (or stride) length. There are several ways to measure this, but one of the easiest is to make a mark behind your right heel, then walk 10 steps and mark the spot where your right heel ends. Measure that distance and divide by 10. The catch here is that you're starting from a dead stop, which isn't your normal pace. An alternative is to measure a specific distance on the sidewalk, like 20 feet. Start walking before your measured area, so you're up to your typical walking speed by the time you start counting steps. From your "start" line, measure how many steps it takes you to get to the "finish" line. Divide your 20 feet by the number of steps it took you to get there.Where to Wear It
Okay, the hard part's over. Now, it's just a matter of hooking it on, something you should do first thing in the morning. When you put on your watch, put on your pedometer. Hey, those steps from the bathroom to the bedroom should count! Make sure you position your pedometer on your waistband, in line with your right knee, facing straight up and down, not tilted to the side.
"It's measuring the kick of your leg and your hip motion," explains Susan Parks, CEO of WalkStyles, Inc., maker of the DashTrak pedometer. "It's also an untapped accessory space," she adds. This might sound frivolous, but after perfecting your outfit for the day, you don't want this gadget ruining your look. DashTrak units even offer three snap-on covers in different colors.
One tip: If you're afraid your pedometer will fall off or land in the toilet, put a ribbon through the waist clip and pin it to your pants.
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