Was Pedometer an Old Concept ?
Although the invention of the pedometer has been attributed to US president Thomas Jefferson, apparently Leonardo da Vinci conceptualized a similar device in drawings from the 15th century. In the US, pedometers became popular in the 1930s as a result of the radio program “Jack Armstrong: All-American Boy” and his Hike-o-Meter pedometer, and again in the 1960s when the Japanese walking program known as “manpo-kei” was popularized. In Japanese, “manpo” means 10,000 steps. Yamasa produced a pedometer they called “manpo-kei”, or, literally, “10,000-steps meter” (Sidman CL. 2002).
PEDOMETER – YOUR FITNESS BUDDY
A pedometer can be a fantastic tool for someone who is trying to become more motivated about exercising. it is often used by individuals who are interested in tracking the total distance they have traveled per day.
There is something inherently encouraging about seeing the number of steps that you have taken in a day or the number of steps that you need to take in order to reach any given activity goal. Not many people realize that a pedometer can also be used quite successfully as a tool to help you in your weight loss goals. For best results, be sure that your pedometer is accurately calibrated. Put your current age, weight, and height in for best results.
Understanding How Weight Loss Occurs
Before discussing whether or not a pedometer can help you to lose weight, it is important to understand fully how weight loss occurs. Most people understand that you lose weight when the number of calories you consume is less than the number of calories that you burn over the course of a particular day. However, the problem comes into play when people are trying to determine exactly how many calories they actually burn per day. While it can be easy to track your calories burned through exercise, these are not the only calories you burn. In fact, they make up a small proportion of your total calorie expenditure per day. In reality, the majority of your burned calories come from normal physiologic functions that happen over the course of the day. In order to get the most accurate measurement of the total number of calories your body uses each day, you would need to undergo a metabolic test. However, you can estimate the total number of calories burned per day by multiplying your weight by 10. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can reasonably expect to burn around 1500 calories per day, excluding exercise.
So how exactly can a pedometer help you to lose weight? As discussed above, an average 150 pound person can reasonably expect to lose around 500 calories by participating in a one-hour walking program. But if you don’t weigh 150 pounds, or aren’t walking for one hour at a moderate pace, a pedometer can be of great assistance. A pedometer not only tells you how far you have walked each day, but it can also accurately measure the number of calories you have burned. This is accomplished through the input of your weight, age, and height. Knowing how many calories you have burned each day can help you to track your progress towards your ultimate weight loss goals.
(It is recommended that in order to fight off weight gain and maintain a healthy heart, people should aim for 10,000 steps per day. 10,000 steps per day, for a person with an average length stride of 2.5 feet, is roughly 5 miles. This daily distance is enough for someone who eats healthily and in moderation, but if you overeat you may find yourself putting on extra pounds over the years even if you adhere to a habit of taking this many steps daily. If you’re looking to lose weight, you may need to take even more steps each day.)
Studies have shown that sedentary individuals who start wearing a pedometer for weight loss increase their daily activity by an average of 2000 steps per day. That’s nearly an extra mile walked every day. That translates to approximately 100 extra calories burned daily, which is a total of 36,500 per year, or almost 10.5 pounds lost.
Here are a few tips on how to best use this simple gadget for this purpose.
Set a daily goal for number of steps taken:
- If you are looking to use a pedometer to drop weight, it is imperative to set a daily goal for minimum steps taken. A good example might be 14,000 steps per day, but it will depend on what your starting point is (how sedentary you are at the beginning of your exercise program), and what other kind of other fitness programs you might be implementing to try and get fit (exercise such as swimming, biking, or strength training will not be reflected on your pedometer steps, even though they burn a great deal of calories).
- On days where you do activities outside of a walking program or running workout, you can always scale back on the number of steps you expect to take, and just make note of what other kind of physical activity you did.
- Use your pedometer in conjunction with a diet journal to track and bolster your progress. Keeping a food journal has been shown to help people lose as much as twice as much weight as those who don’t track their consumption. Combining the analysis of your diet with a food journal and the monitoring of the number of steps you’re taking with a pedometer can be a great way to have a multi-pronged approach to your fitness efforts.
- Start planning your days around activities that bump up your daily tally of total steps taken. Part of the reason why a pedometer helps people lose weight is because it forces them to become aware of how active (or inactive) they are throughout their daily lives.
- You can use a pedometer to reach your goals by being conscious of reaching your daily step goal and making decisions all day long that lead to more movement. This decision to be more active can have twofold benefits. For example, suddenly if you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator, there will be a record of that on the pedometer, which keeps reaching your weight loss goals at the forefront of your mind. In turn, wearing a pedometer might not only help you move a little more, it might also spur you to make healthier food choices as well–just because you are more conscious of your expenditure and consumption.
Have you ever worn a pedometer before? How many steps do you take on an average day?
Let Us know in the comments 🙂
By Ruchi Shah