So often we think getting started in fitness requires a big ramp up. We think need to find a class that fits with our schedule. We plan on buying lots of fitness gear. We do a bunch of research on whatever form of fitness we’re considering. AND we try to figure out when in our insane life schedules we will find time for all of this to happen.
And for many forms of fitness, these steps will be necessary. But there is a way to step into fitness that requires an investment of $0.00 to $15.00, that you can fit into your day any time you like. I’m talking about counting steps. And it’s very cheap, easy and usually safe, if you do it the right way. (In fact it could be FREE if you are one of the WINNERS of The Fat Chick Pedometer Giveaway –see details below!)
Unfortunately, many of us do step counter training the wrong way. You may have heard that most of us adults should aim to get 10,000 steps per day. So you might be tempted to go out and buy a pedometer and start walking 10,000 steps per day. But for many of us this is the wrong way to get fit. In this blog, (and in my DVD and in my Best-Selling Book) I’ve spoken at length about the 10 percent rule. This rule states, “Thou shalt not increase thy exercise–either by intensity, frequency or duration by more than ten percent per week.” So if you are currently averaging 1,000 steps per day, jumping all the way up to 10,000 steps per day is likely to be frustrating and painful, and may even lead to injury. This is not what we want.
Here’s the right way to start step counter training.
1. Buy a step counter (or WIN one). It does not need to be fancy. It needs to have a step counter readout and a reset button. That’s it! You can spend $100 for a Fitbit or even more for a fancy workout tracker, but you should be able to find a tracker for $15 or less.
2. Get out a calendar or a piece of paper. Again you can use fancy tracking software, but a plain old calendar will do. Or you can even use your Google calendar or smart phone calendar to track.
3. Put the step counter on first thing in the morning, and wear it all day. Now for the technical bit. WHERE you WEAR the tracker on your body is important. If it’s not placed on your body in the right place, it won’t count all the steps. And doing lots of steps that don’t count will make you feel cheated and resentful, or possibly just very sad. We don’t want that. Start by clipping the pedometer to your waistband parallel to the floor. Clip the pedometer towards the front of your body in line with the middle of the front of your thigh and your kneecap. Now walk 100 steps (count out loud). If your count is plus or minus three steps from 100, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to adjust the pedometer until you find the right spot on YOUR body to get an accurate count.
4. At the end of each day, record the total number of steps on your calendar or piece of paper.
5. At the end of the week, determine your average daily step count. Just add up all the steps, and divide by the number of days you walked. So if I walked seven days, I would add up all those steps and divide by seven.
6. Use your average daily step count to determine your ten percent point. This is super easy. Just move the decimal point over one to the left. So if your average daily step count is 3214, the 10 percent point is 321.4! See? Easy peasy!
7. Set a daily step count goal that is up to ten percent higher than your previous average daily step count. So, using our previous example, we would add 3214 to 321.4 which equals 3535.4. So in this example, you could set a goal for the next week UP TO 3535. Remember, that is your max. You could choose to increase one percent per week or ramp ten percent every other week. Do what feels good to YOU!
That’s it. Just follow those simple steps and you’re on your way. Later this week, I’ll give you some advice about increasing your step count. But in the meantime, here’s how you can win a fabulous new step counter from yours truly.
WIN A PEDOMETER FROM THE FAT CHICK!
All you have to do is click this link The Fat Chick Pedometer Giveaway and then follow the directions! Once you get there, you can like my Facebook page or put a comment on the blog or write a tweet. It’s easy and fun. Just remember to click this link first: The Fat Chick Pedometer Giveaway
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
P.S. Want to get access to other FREE STUFF? Just opt in RIGHT HERE!
I’d love to use a pedometer, but I usually use my phone with the Nexercise app. It doesn’t tell me how far I’ve gone, but it tells me how many calories I’ve burned from it tracking my motions
Love love love love love this incremental approach to steps. I do a lot of hour-long cardio classes as an instructor and a student, and often walking falls by the wayside for me. I think this would be a good idea to keep active on days when I don’t have a scheduled workout. Just a little goal each day. I look forward to more posts about how to increase step counts! 🙂
Yay! So glad! :o)
I love gadgets!
Me too Susie!
They gave us inexpensive pedometers at work once as part of a wellness program. I tried it, but it was painfully inaccurate. The day I logged 200 steps driving my stick shift across town was the day I gave up on it! Is this just a function of having a really cheap giveaway step counter? Or is driving a stick considered an aerobic activity? 😉
Hey there BB! The accuracy varies wildly from one pedometer to another. And as I mentioned, where it is placed on the body is of extreme importance. It’s pretty important to test the accuracy of your pedometer when you start (with the step counting test I offered above). Also, the better pedometers allow you to change the length of your stride which can have a big impact. As to whether or not driving stick is an aerobics activity, I would say that depends on where you live. In San Francisco, driving stick is definitely an aerobic activity (at least MY heart was beating pretty fast!) In LA it’s more of a resistance training exercise primarily for your left foot stomping on the clutch for 2 hours in LA traffic. It’s actually the reason I finally switched to an automatic–to save the strain on my left knee. ;o)