The Power of the Pedometer

If you find yourself lacking motivation to get a little exercise, clip a pedometer on your waistband. I don't know about you, but I am a little competitive, even with myself. When I wear a pedometer, I always want to push myself to the next level. I know I am not alone; when I moved back to Massachusetts, about two years ago, I took the train into Boston with my sister, sister-in-law, son, niece and nephew. The plan was to walk around a bit, head to the North End and enjoy a little Italian food. My sister-in-law was sporting a new little “toy,” a pedometer, and boy did that motivate us! Every time we thought about hopping on the public transit system to get to our next destination, she checked the pedometer and gave us an update on how many steps we had taken to that point. Each time we said, “Let's clock some more steps, e.g., let's walk to the North End.” We ended up walking 14,000 steps or 7 miles that day. And the great thing about it — we all enjoyed our outing to Boston more, burned some serious calories and gave our hearts, lungs and legs a good workout.

These days, I walk with a friend who is also motivated to walk more because she also wears a pedometer. Today, we walked 8,000 steps at the local park. She shoots for 10,000, which is the number experts say promotes good health. So when she gets home, I know she will continue to wear her pedometer and make sure she registers another 2,000 steps before the day is over.

I highly recommend getting a pedometer. Wear it for a few days and determine the average number of steps you typically take in a day. It doesn't matter what your baseline is, but use it to set some goals. If you are currently walking 4,000 steps a day, set a goal for the next week or two to walk 4,500 or a strech goal of 5,000. Every couple of weeks, increase your goal. People who set goals are six times more likely to arrive at their destination.

To get started, check out this link that was on the American Heart Association newsletter: http://mystartonline.org/

So get out and enjoy the some fresh air, the spring weather, and the health benefits of walking the extra mile.

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