Tips for Setting Step Goals with Your Pedometer
Using a pedometer increases physical activity by about one mile of walking per day in comparison to those who do not use a pedometer. Being active is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, controlled blood sugar levels, and weight loss. Setting a step goal with your pedometer is an important factor to these findings. Follow the tips below to get started.1
- Start wearing your pedometer each day for a week or two without changing your normal routine. Log your steps into your exercise journal for this brief time period and, at the end of the week(s), reflect on how many steps you take each day just living your life.
- Use the most steps taken in a day in the course of that time period as your first daily step goal. Aim towards taking that same number of steps for the next two weeks and be sure to log in your number of steps in your exercise journal each night.
- After the two-week period, add 500 more steps to your daily goal. In two more weeks, add another 500 steps to your daily goal. Continue to add 500 steps every two weeks to your daily number until you achieve your ultimate goal of 10,000 steps per day or more.
- Take it slow and review your progress each week. If adding 500 steps every two weeks doesn't work for you, try adding 250 steps instead. Everyone responds to increases in activity differently, and it may take you longer to get used to physical activity than you had originally thought.
- Stop boredom as soon as you feel it creeping up on you! Find a walking buddy, create exercise-friendly playlists on your iPod, or try walking in a mall or on a track instead of your usual route.
- Wear proper footwear and monitor your feet daily. With all of the extra walking, your feet are more prone to trauma and injury. Be sure to wear supportive footwear and keep an eye on how your feet are responding to the increased exercise.
- You may need to skip a day here or a few days there. Life happens, as does illness, fatigue, and other obligations. Get back to your exercise routine as soon as you can, but realize that you are human, not a machine.
- If you experience any concerns about pain or discomfort you may be feeling, contact your doctor immediately. Pain can be considered a warning sign that something may be wrong.
Reviewed by Sheri Colberg-Ochs, PhD, FACSM 1/14
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