“People say that losing weight is no walk in the park. When I hear that I think, yeah, that’s the problem,” griped writer Chris Adams.
However, if Chris had a pedometer, he’d realise that losing weight can be a walk in the park...and the supermarket, the office, the home, in fact, anywhere you can put one foot in front of the other. The truth is the hardest part of exercise is motivating yourself to get out the door and do it. The great thing about a pedometer, is that it brings the door to you. Much like a personal trainer, it gets you going, gives you instant feedback, encourages you to go further and produces results. The difference is that it’s on hand ready to help 24/7 and will not yell, "Give me a hundred push-ups, NOW!" at you.
Keeping well fit
To get maximum performance from your pedometer it’s important to know how to fit it correctly. If you own an accelerometer pedometer such as the G-Sensor (which is 10,000 Steps Australia’s pedometer-of-choice for workplace challenges), you’re sitting pretty already and this information is not relevant to you. Accelerometer Pedometers work on forward movement rather than a pendulum action so they are unaffected by the bumps daily movement can bring. However, if you have a Pendulum Pedometer such as the Yamax Digi-Walker SW700, perfect placement is vital for accuracy, as the pendulum action can be affected by bumps and the nudge of overhanging tummies. As a rule, these pedometers should be placed in a vertical position on the hip/waist band, in line with your knee. To avoid the pedometer edging out of position, simply check it with your hand every now and then to make sure it’s sitting flat and in place. Most importantly, remember to put your pedometer on first thing in the morning and take it off last thing at night to ensure every step counts.
Getting to first base
The first week of using your pedometer is the time to find your ‘baseline’. This is the average number of steps you take each day (found by adding the total number of steps for the first week and dividing by 7). Go to 10,000 Steps Australia’s Step Goal Calculator and enter the number of steps you took for each of the first 7 days and it will automatically calculate your baseline. Don’t worry if your baseline is a small number – this just gives you greater room for improvement. Then select your daily step goal and the percentage of steps by which you’d like to improve and the calculator will generate a personalised Weekly Step Plan for you. Set realistic goals and build up to them gradually. Increasing your step goal by 5 steps is still a step in the right direction.
Learning by repetition
Much like you reach for your keys before you leave home, try to work wearing your pedometer and logging your steps into your daily routine. To make wearing your pedometer second nature, work out where it is best placed around the house for you to remember to put it on and off each day. This may be on your bedside table, beside your keys, or perhaps near your toothbrush (but not too close as they’re not waterproof!) so you are reminded of it when you go to brush your teeth.
Finding safety in numbers
Recording and logging your steps each day is imperative for you to see your improvement. Log them when they’re good, log them when they’re waning – there is no shame in low numbers, just in giving up the challenge to reach 10,000 steps.
Once you’ve got in the swing of things, look out for opportunities to increase your step count. This doesn’t require finding large chunks of time to go to the park. The average person takes 70 to 100 steps a minute when walking normally. So just taking a walk around the office before you get a coffee can increase your count by 300 steps. For more tips on finding those hidden extra-step opportunities, read A Step in the Right Direction to 10,000 Steps.
Putting your plan into action
Once you’ve set your daily step goal, it’s lights, camera, action. Attach your walking buddy, step to it and enjoy the challenge!
10,000 Steps Australia is a pedometer workplace challenge that is uniquely on demand and customizable. Our walking experts have combined intelligent design with up-to-the-minute technology to create an interactive step challenge that inspires employees to be active, and provides coordinators with a turnkey solution to running a successful corporate wellness program. If your organisation is interested in taking up the challenge, contact us for a live demo.