Health and Fitness Column

Pedometers keep me motivated

By John Taylor | Jan 14, 2014
Photo by: File John Taylor

My wife, Andreya, surprised me with a pedometer for Christmas. As soon as I saw it, I realized that she purchased the “SyncActive” Activity Tracker, which records my total number of steps taken, minutes of movement, miles gained, and estimated calories burned. Since I like fitness gadgets, I decided to start wearing it to see how much I moved throughout the day. Though I keep track of my movement during workouts, I was curious to learn how active I was while working and during my leisure time.
After wearing the device for one work day, I was shocked that I gained 14,000 steps and moved 7.5 miles prior to going to bed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans gain 10,000 steps per day for optimal activity levels, and after one day of wearing the Activity Tracker, I learned that I far exceeded that standard. Pretty awesome, right?
For the rest of the week, my step count at work ranged between 9,000 and 17,000. On the day I earned 9,000 steps, I was a little sad for not meeting my goal of 10,000, and I found myself walking around my house for the rest of the night until I earned this milestone. I think this is what is known as a healthy obsession.
Then the weekend came, and as a die-hard football fan, I found myself sitting on the couch watching the NFL playoffs on Saturday and Sunday. As a born-and-raised Seattleite, I made a special point of not missing the Seahawks-Saints game so I could cheer on my beloved team as a member of the “12th Man Nation.”
However, being a fan does have its disadvantages. Besides the emotional highs and lows that occur during a close game, I also found that I only obtained 6,000 steps that day. So instead of being sad or indifferent about the situation, I decided to head to the gym to meet my 10,000 step goal.
I also found that my co-workers and students at the school I teach at will often approach me, and ask about my step count. This is an unintended side effect of wearing a pedometer, because I didn’t expect the amount of praise I would receive for achieving 10,000 steps in a day, nor did I expect encouragement on days where I didn’t get a ton of movement in.
Though I’m a very active adult, I must say that my pedometer keeps me motivated to maintain constant movement throughout my day. I don’t like the feeling of knowing I didn’t meet my step count goal, and I find myself getting really excited when I do.
For those who are looking to increase activity levels, a pedometer is a great way to monitor your movement. The numbers are easy to understand, and if you use a device similar to the “SyncActive” brand, you can even plug it into your smartphone to record and track your daily performance.
I know Andreya knew I would love this device, but now my question is would people be offended if I bought them a pedometer as a gift? The look that says, “Are you trying to tell me something,” could make me a little uncomfortable, but it’s all in the name of helping someone improve their health, right?
Hopefully this gesture doesn’t end with me getting a backhand.

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