40,000-49,999 SparkPoints 42,818

Wearing a Pedometer From Morning Until Night

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wearing a pedometer is a great way to measure your day to day activity. It gives you credit for day to day activities that normally aren't measured such as parking farther away, walking from the bus stop to your office, walking on the job, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around the house, mowing the lawn, walking from store to store in the mall or within a store such as Walmart, etc. I've been wearing a pedometer from morning until night since October, 2001. I was forced to wear it daily for the first 4 months because I was part of dairy diet research study where they wanted to track that. I have been wearing it daily ever since. I feel lost without it.

When wearing a pedometer, it is important that you wear it so it is vertical. If your belly forces it to roll to a horizontal position, you won't get accurate step counts. It is also important that it be worn parallel to the floor and not angled on the side of a pocket. Usually, they recommend you wear it on a belt but I don't wear a belt. If my pants have a coin pocket, I attach it to that because that is the least likely to be affected by the roll. If my pants don't have a coin pocket, I attach it to my waist band or I attach it to the lower section of the pocket parallel to the floor. If I am wearing a skirt or dress, I attach the pedometer to my underwear, slip or pantyhose. It is best to be located midway between your belly button and side of your hip.

I have worn a pedometer on both my left and right side simultaneously to determine the accuracy of various brands of pedometers. I have discovered that more steps are recorded on your dominant side no matter what brand of pedometer you use. For example, I am right handed. When I wear a pedometer on my right hip, I get more step counts than if I wear it on my left hip. I think that is because you lead off with that foot. When reaching, sometimes you only use that foot. Also, I think you start and end walking sequences with that foot. So if you are going to wear a pedometer to measure all your activity, I recommend you wear it on your dominant side.

I have recorded the steps daily in some fashion ever since I started wearing a pedometer. At first, I did it through an online website where I tracked that along with my food diary and exercise minutes which were then submitted through a checklist to a doctor weekly. More recently, for the past 2 years, I have been tracking it using an Excel spreadsheet daily. I average the counts monthly which can be correlated to my weight, exercise minutes and other factors to determine trends.

When I was working, I got a lot more steps due to an active job. I averaged about 9,000 steps per day then. In 2003, I went on disability and my steps decreased drastically averaging around 1500 steps per day but some days had as little as 300 steps per day. I was working on increasing that steadily and was up to 8,000 steps per day average in May, 2009. Then I injured my back. My step counts dropped to 3,000 steps per day average. Currently, my counts are averaging around 5,000 steps per day. What matters most is not the actual number of steps but that you are showing progressive relative improvement in your step counts and daily activity.

When using a pedometer, the distance measured is totally dependent on how accurately you have your stride set. The distance isn't 100 percent accurate because your stride varies based on what type of activity you are doing. For example, if you are going on a walk for exercise, your stride is most likely longer than the stride length you use when walking around the house or doing housework.

The Yamax SW-200 pedometer has been used in the step studies where they recommend getting 10,000 steps per day. It is one of the most accurate pedometers. I used the Yamax SW-651 for years which is similar to the SW-200 except with more features. The SW-200 only counts steps. The SW-651 counts steps, tracks distance, has a stopwatch and clock. I use the stopwatch frequently to measure the amount of time I am exercising. I loved the SW-651 pedometer except for one frustration. The plastic clip that attaches it to your clothes broke several times which resulted a need to replace the entire pedometer. I now see they sell a back clip repair kit which is much cheaper than replacing the entire pedometer. stepintohealth.stores.ya

The last time I went to replace the pedometer, I bought both the Yamax SW-651 and the Yamax CW-701. The CW-701 doesn't have a stopwatch and I wanted the stopwatch feature. I now wear the SW-651 at the gym while I exercise so I can time my sessions. I wear the CW-701 on my street clothes for my daily activity.

The Yamax CW-701 has a metal clip to attach to your clothes. The CW-701 has a step counter, distance tracker, clock, calories burned and activity timer. The CW series is supposed to be even more accurate than the SW series. It also has a 7 day memory and a 2 week cumulative memory. The CW series resets itself at midnight every night. Resetting itself at midnight is good and bad. If you don't go to bed before midnight, the steps taken after midnight (from the previous day) are counted on the next day's step counts. But it also prevents the problem of forgetting to reset the pedometer at the end of the day. The 7 day memory is handy because you can wait to record the step counts to the most convenient time rather than being forced to do it every night before you go to bed. It also is interesting to see how many cumulative steps you have in the current week and previous week. In the end, cumulative steps is what matters the most. stepintohealth.stores.ya

In order to calculate calories burned, you must enter your weight. I set my weight when I first got the pedometer and never changed it. I don't believe calories burned is accurate because I think calories burned is determined more by the type of activity you are doing than by the amount of steps taken.

Also, I don't think the activity timer really measures anything relevant. For example, yesterday I didn't do any intentional exercise yet the activity timer shows 18 minutes. Also, when doing strength training, you don't get many steps but you can be exercising for a significant length of time. The activity timer would not pick that up. I believe setting a stopwatch such as on the SW-651 is more accurate measure of intentional exercise minutes.

I purchase my Yamax pedometers online from Step Into Health.
If you would rather purchase by mail order, they have a form which you can print out to do so. I don't know of anyone else who sells Yamax pedometers. Step Into Health has very reasonable, speedy shipping. I've always used the cheapest shipping, first class mail, and never had a problem. They give quantity discounts if you want to order 2 or 10 at a time rather than just one. I highly recommend purchasing the safety strap for $2. I would have lost my pedometers numerous times without the safety strap. I don't know how often, I have discovered my pedometer dangling by the leash.

If you want another way to track your success and get credit for being active, I recommend you get a pedometer. Put it on when you get up in the morning and don't take it off until you go to bed at night.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BIGT_56
    I faithfully wore my Omron pedometer until it broke. I tried to get at least 10,000 steps a day. That was about the time I moved to Ohio due to a transfer in my job. I was stressed out and didn't purchase another one. I was going to get myself one for Christmas. I will look into this brand and do a little comparative shopping. I have a desk job now and don't get near the oportunity to walk, but I need to start building up again.
    2670 days ago
  • CLASSY76
    I know some people say they attach their pedometer to their shoe strings. I'm not sure how that would work with the ones I use because I've never tried it.
    2670 days ago
    Thanks for the good information about pedometers. As I was reading, I was wondering, Why can't they come up with a pedometer that attaches on your ankle like an anklet or expandable watch band?
    2670 days ago
    Thanks for the info. Great info for us.
    2714 days ago
    Thanks for the information! I've been looking for a different one lately.
    2892 days ago
    Lots of good information, thank you. I have been using the Omron pedometer but think I am going to get one of these.
    2895 days ago
  • FLAME42
    I have been wearing my pedometer all day now for 57 days. It does make you want to push yourself for extra steps in a day. My lowest daily step count was 7,137 on Feb. 28, my highest daily step count was 20,293 on April 16,2010. I have the opportunity to use time for purposeful walking, and enjoy it also. I find it helps my back problem once I get started in the morning. Thanks for the info on pedometers.
    2895 days ago
    So do my wife and I!!!
    2896 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.