Part IV: Great Tips for Using Your Pedometer

They are finally here!!  After four weeks of trials and records, here are my tips on how I've enjoyed and benefited from a pedometer, starting with the biggest revelation:

Mental exhaustion is NOT the same a physical exhaustion.
Thanks to my pedometer awareness, when I’m tired at day’s end and feeling physically wiped out from raising kids, my little friend is on my side to say “Nope; you’re only at 4000 steps.  Go for a walk” and I’m up and out the door.  An hour later I return at over 7,000 steps feeling SO MUCH BETTER.  My mind is clear, my blood is pumping, and suddenly I have even more energy.  The mind is a crazy manipulator, but your pedometer will keep you focused in reality and healthier for it.

Water/Food Cycles:  If you can check your pedometer at intervals, you’ll have much more mental time for the rest of your day.  Week two I was too mentally focused on watching my numbers to get to 10,000 that I forgot about rest periods, frequent water drinks, and regularly eating meals and snacks.

Little game with yourself:  The excitement of reaching 10,000 was like winning a jackpot!  When you know your baseline (mine without exercise was about 3500-5000 steps) you can then chop off 3000-4000 steps in the 1st hour of your morning, and another 3-4K with a walk in the evening.  Something magical happens when I would reach over 7,500 steps; my energy would INCREASE, not decrease.  Huh?  It's true, try it!

Range of Motion:  I was concerned if the little bugger would count double steps for jumping, and it does!  In fact, the larger your range of motion in upper body workouts (if you can recruit some action in your hips) the more likely the pedometer will count your movement.  For example, shadow boxing or punching in a jab/cross pattern with a slight hip twist counts even though the balls of your feet don’t leave the floor.  So although pedometers cannot count upper body activity, my movements are now LARGER during the same workouts I’ve always done, so I achieve a greater total intensity.  Awesome!  Also to increase intensity, try this for a given activity (such as walking a mile):

Increase your Speed on a Set # of Steps to Decrease Your Time getting to 10,000.

Below are some records of my accumulated steps on various shopping trips.  Not surprisingly, Costco had a high number of steps per hour.  The Mall was so high I now recommend if you live in bad weather but your mall opens early, join a group of indoor walkers.  Parking far away only added 100 steps (50 each direction) but I've become a surprised Distant-Parker because of the stress I dropped not searching for a close spot.  I thought I'd worry about my two kids but they enjoyed all the extra walking, too.

  • Smiths Groceries: 1000 (from parked car and back), extra 100 for parking far away, 60 minutes
  • Costco Groceries: 1300 (450 on L, 750 on R, 100 parking lot), 60 minutes
  • Shop at Target: 500, 45 minutes
  • Shop at Marshalls: 500, 45 minutes
  • Mall, Just from One store to the Car: 450, Total: 1500 for 90 minutes

Now it's your turn:  I've made great contacts recently with people that have taken on their own pedometer challenges, purchasing one to monitor their own step numbers.  (A tip from a Mom I met at a park yesterday: she bought a pedometer at the dollar store that did not work, go for something $5-$20 instead.  If it had, I would have bought 20 and had a giveaway on my website; that would have been fantastic!)

Share Your Stories!  
Email me at if you'd like to share your tips, troubles, or activities
with your pedometer and I'll work it into a new post.  Happy walking!