What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a device designed to record daily steps. Pedometers have been used in Japan for many years, nicknamed “manpo-kei” which means 10,000 steps. The pedometer is worn at the waist in line with the middle of the thigh; the device measures the number of steps through the up-and-down motion of the hips. More sophisticated models measure distance traveled (miles or kilometers), heart rate, energy expended (kcals) and some can even be used as a stopwatch. The error rate with pedometers may be increased in people with gait impairments, very slow walking speeds or extreme obesity. A pedometer is designed to get people more physically active.
How much is enough exercise?
Health Canada recommends 30-60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy. Blocks of 10 minutes of activity can accumulate to reach this goal. Some of the benefits of exercise include:
- improving overall health, mood, self-esteem and decreasing stress
- reducing weight, improving glycemic control and blood pressure
- decreasing risk factors for illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis
People choose many different forms of exercise; walking is the most common.
Walking is currently the most popular physical activity for adults in Canada. Benefits are similar to other forms of exercise but walking is much easier on the joints. Minimal equipment is required except for comfortable clothing and proper footwear. Best of all walking is free and it can be done almost anywhere!! Remember to start slowly, warm up and stretch before and after walking.
How many steps are enough?
The number of steps people take in a day varies from person to person. Sedentary adults take between 2000 and 4000 steps per day; a healthy number of steps for an adult are 10,000 per day or about 7 kilometres. For children this goal would likely be too low as most children range from 11,000-12,000 per day. Most people need to make an effort to go out and walk to get enough steps in a day. It is estimated that 3,000-4,000 steps are equivalent to 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking. Research has demonstrated consistently that exercise, especially walking, is beneficial for overall health.