The Best Workout Tool… You’re Not Using
By Pamela Redwine
So….What is the best workout tool that you’re probably NOT using? A pedometer! Research shows people who use them regularly lose more weight than those who don’t. Do you have one? Choose the letter that applies to you:
A. I use it regularly
B. I’ve never taken it out of the box
C. I tried once but couldn’t set it.
D. I couldn’t interpret the readout
If you picked A, congrats! If you circled B, C, or D, you may want to dust off your step-counting gizmo, since studies say they may help increase physical activity by as much as 27 percent, upping your average daily steps by more than 2000 – about a mile!
A pedometer senses your body motion and counts your footsteps. This count is converted into distance by knowing the length of your usual stride. Wearing a pedometer and recording your daily steps and distance is a great motivating tool. You can wear a pedometer all day, every day and record total steps. Or you can wear it just when you go out for a walking workout. All pedometers count steps, although they may use different methods to do so. These include (in general order of accuracy): piezo-electric accelerometers, a coiled spring mechanism, and a hairspring mechanism. Beyond showing the step total and/or calculating the distance, features abound. The top features are: Calorie estimates, clocks, timers, stopwatches and speed estimators, 7-day memory, pulse rate readers. The simplest pedometers only count your steps and display steps and/or distance. This is all you need to track to keep yourself motivated. Set a goal of distance or steps for each day. The recommended number of steps is 6000 for health, 10,000 for weight loss when you count all steps during the day. For weight loss, an uninterrupted walk each day of 4000-6000 steps is recommended.
How to Wear Your Pedometer
A pedometer should be comfortable to wear all day and be held securely by its clip, an extra safety leash is almost required. The display should be easy to read without removing the unit from your waistband. It should be protected so that bumps don’t punch a button and reset the count. It should be easy and intuitive to move between functions.
How to Set Your Pedometer
Most pedometers require you to measure your step length in order to set it to estimate distance. Where and how you wear the pedometer will also influence step counting accuracy. The pedometer must be straight up and down, not tilted.
Pedometer Walking Programs
Wear your pedometer about a week without changing any of your habits. Each day, at the end of the day, write down how many steps are recorded. (Note: 2,000 steps equal a mile). An ultimate goal is 10,000 steps per day. That equals approximately 5 miles. If at first you are not walking 5 miles a day, try to do a little more each day. To reach a 10,000 step goal, most people need to do some purposeful walking a couple of miles each day. To help increase your steps, fight the temptation to take the easy way out and use time-savers such as drive-through windows, drive-through banks and elevators. Think of some ways to walk when the weather is bad. You might be able to walk at the nearest mall or superstore to get in those extra steps. Look for additional ways to be more active with your children or spouse. Instead of watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the internet, go for a walk, go to the park, or find some activity you enjoy doing as a family.
Keeping records of your steps and/or distance can keep you on track. You can record your daily totals in any log, or get your pedometer and log through one of the pedometer walking programs offered.
• Mississippi State Uni-versity Extension Service IS 1775
• Weight Watchers March /April 2010
• http://walking.about. com/cs/measure/bb/bybpedometer.htm
Recipe of the week
Chocolate Covered Banana Slushy
• 3 cups fat-free (skim) milk, divided
• 1/4 cup no-sugar-added chocolate instant
• 1 medium banana
1. Combine 2 cups milk and beverage mix in a pitcher; whisk until powder dissolves
2. Pour chocolate milk into cube trays (about 2 tablespoons per cube). Freeze until solid (about 2 hours)
3. Remove cubes from trays. Place in blender container. Pour remaining 1 cup milk over cubes. Cover; blend until slushy, stopping to scrape blender sides as necessary.
4. Add banana. Blend until slushy. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings