Pedometer

In 2004, Virgil Grissom Elementary School students in Princeton each got a pedometer during a fitness program. 

The first fitness tracker I received as a present cost something north of $125, and I lost it after using it for about one month.

It later turned up underneath the living room couch cushions, but that was after I'd contacted the manufacturer (Misfit) and gotten a replacement.

Then, I lost the new one.

It's too embarrassing to ask my family, yet again, to buy me a fitness tracker. Luckily, we still have several pedometers around the house, collected during corporate fitness programs.

So it's near the New Year, and the time of year that I start getting lots of messages based on health and fitness. One I have received is from the TOPS, or the Take Off Pounds Sensibly organization. The TOPS group has chapters active in Davenport, Rock Island and Moline.

Here are the "TOPS" tips on using pedometers:

  1. Face the facts — Just wearing a pedometer causes you to move more. According to a 2007 study, on average, people who wear a pedometer increase their steps by more than 25 percent.
  2. Get a baseline — Start off by wearing your pedometer every day for a week or so. Put it on when you get up in the morning, and make sure to wear it all day (you can slip it on over your exercise gear, too). You may be surprised at how many  or how few  steps you take in a typical day.
  3. Wear it right — A pedometer is most accurate when worn around your waist, but you can also wear one around your wrist; clip it to your waistband or even to a bra strap.
  4. Up the ante — Set a goal of walking 500 or 1,000 more steps every day.
  5. Set a timer — This will remind you to get up and move every 30-60 minutes, especially if you’re someone who has a desk job.
  6. The more the merrier — If you’re trying to encourage family members or friends to become more active, consider buying them pedometers too. Help each other set new step goals, or create a contest with prizes.
  7. Forget efficiency — Make more than one trip when putting away laundry, carrying groceries from the car, or taking out the mail or garbage.
  8. Lose the cart — Take a lap or two around the grocery store before you start shopping.
  9. Mark your calendar — Write down the number of steps you take each day on your calendar or in a journal. That can help you notice patterns of when you’re active and when you’re less so.
  10. Walk it off — Add a five- or 10 minute-walk after meals; not only will this get extra steps in, but it will burn off a few extra calories too.
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