Thanks Mekka for taking the time to write this article.
> 10,000 Steps to Better Health
> by Carol Krucoff
> Electronic Pedometers Can Help Motivate
> People to Move, Health Experts Say
> One of today's hottest exercise devices fits
> in your pocket, costs about $25 and is so
> simple a child can use it.
> Electronic pedometers have become
> increasingly popular "movement
> motivators" in health promotion
> programs, including weight loss clinics,
> corporate fitness centers and physical
> education classes. The palm-sized gadgets
> clip onto your waistband and record the
> number of steps you take, with more
> sophisticated models also calculating
> distance covered and calories burned. The
> goal for good health, many experts say, is
> to accumulate 10,000 steps per day.
> "People love it because they get
> immediate feedback on how active, or
> inactive, they are," says David
> Bassett, an associate professor of exercise
> science at the University of Tennessee,
> Knoxville. Unlike old-style mechanical
> pedometers, the newer electronic versions
> are extremely accurate, says Bassett, whose
> study testing five popular models appeared
> in the journal Medicine and Science in
> Sports and Exercise.
> The Japanese have used electronic pedometers
> for more than a decade to help counteract
> sedentary lifestyles, Bassett notes.
> Nicknamed "manpo-kei," which means
> "10,000 steps meter" in Japanese,
> the devices were brought to the United
> States in the mid-1990s by exercise
> scientists who used them to determine daily
> activity levels in research studies.
> "Most researchers had been using
> questionnaires to record low to moderate
> activity levels," he notes. "But
> their accuracy was questionable because
> people often can't remember how many flights
> of stairs they climbed or how often they got
> up and walked." In contrast, electronic
> pedometers are an extremely accurate means
> of recording daily life activity. Study
> participants found the devices so helpful
> that, over the last several years,
> pedometers have become an increasingly
> popular tool for helping motivate people to
> become more active.
> Most sedentary people take only about 3,000
> steps per day, says Bassett, and "they
> must make a concerted effort to get
> 10,000." These steps can be accumulated
> in formal exercise programs or through
> lifestyle activities such as climbing stairs
> or walking to do errands.
> Lifestyle activities can provide health
> benefits similar to a traditional gym-based
> workout, according to a study performed at
> the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research
> in Dallas. The study, called "Project
> Active," used the simplest kind of
> pedometer -- a step counter -- to record and
> motivate participants in the "lifestyle
> activity" group, says project director
> Andrea Dunn.
> "People put them on first thing in the
> morning and take them off right before
> bed," Dunn says. "If it's mid-day
> and you only have 3,000 steps, you know
> you've got to get moving to reach your
> While 10,000 steps per day will meet most
> recommendations for adequate physical
> activity, Dunn says, it may be too high a
> number for some people and too low for
> others. "If you're only getting 2,000
> steps a day it may be unrealistic to go
> immediately to 10,000," she says.
> "People who have a weight problem may
> need to target closer to 15,000 to 18,000
> steps per day to lose or maintain weight
> "There's no magic number; it's all
> relative," concurs Abby King, associate
> professor of health research and policy at
> the Stanford University School of Medicine
> in Palo Alto, Calif. "If a frail older
> person who's been getting 2,000 steps goes
> up to 4,000 steps, that's a real success.
> The best thing for people to do is establish
> a baseline, then try to get more steps than
> they've been getting."
> Most people think they're more active than
> they actually are, notes King, who says
> pedometers help people recognize and change
> sedentary habits. "At the end of the
> day people are very tired, and they think
> it's because they're active," she says.
> "But there's a tremendous amount of
> mental and emotional fatigue that's not
> related to physical activity. Many people
> are surprised to see that they only
> accumulate 3,000 steps a day."
> When people become aware how inactive they
> are, she says, "they'll start to think
> about ways to sneak in more steps, like
> taking a walk break instead of a coffee
> break or having a meeting while walking
> instead of sitting in the office."
> Pedometers help people become accountable
> for their behavior, says Alice Lockridge, an
> exercise physiologist who runs a personal
> training studio near Seattle. "I've had
> clients bring them back to me and say, 'It's
> not working, I only got 2,000 steps,' "
> she recalls. "When I test it and
> discover that it works fine, they're
> The devices can be particularly motivating
> for children, says Teresa Vollenweider,
> whose Kansas City, Mo. fitness equipment
> company, New Life Styles, sells "school
> packs" that include 15 pedometers plus
> teaching materials. "The kids can get
> very competitive to see who gets the most
> steps," she says. "I've had phys
> ed. teachers tell me that kids who were
> wearing them during a bowling unit didn't
> just stand in line, they marched in place to
> get more steps."
> But pedometers do have limits. They don't
> record intensity, so there's no way to tell
> whether steps are taken running or
> strolling. And they don't work with
> non-weight-bearing activities like cycling,
> swimming or rowing. And they only work
> properly when worn correctly, on a waistband
> directly above the knee. People with big
> stomachs may need to wear them on the side,
> which may reduce accuracy. Women wearing
> dresses without waistbands may need to
> improvise -- such as by clipping them on
> pantyhose, which makes them hard to read.
> "You can also estimate steps by knowing
> that 2,000 steps equals one mile,"
> notes the guidebook to the 10,000 Steps
> program just launched by HealthPartners, a
> Minnesota managed care company. The program
> provides people with pedometers and
> motivational support, such as a log to
> record progress and incentives for
> "Research shows that for an average
> person, walking an additional 5,000 to 7,000
> steps a day has significant health benefits,
> cutting the risk for diseases such as
> cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart
> disease," notes Julie Dappen, director
> of corporate communications for
> HealthPartners. "We're trying to make
> it practical for people to take the steps
> they need for better health."
> Step counters cost about $20, with more
> sophisticated pedometers running up to $30.
> Available at some sporting goods stores,
> they may be purchased from:
> * New Life Styles. Call 1-888-SIT-LESS.
> * ACCUSPLIT. Call 1-800-935-1996.
> * HealthPartners' "10,000 Steps
> Program." Call 800-311-1052.
> © Carol Krucoff, 1999. All rights reserved.
> related iVillage products
> Waist Management™
> Chromium Picolinate
> Getting in shape just got an added boost.
> Because Waist Management with the trace
> mineral chromium picolinate helps your body
> use fat and carbohydrates more efficiently.
> Check it out now!
> Weight Loss Spray
> Homeopathic Remedy by Cayur
> If you could stop craving sugar, salt and
> carbs, suppress your appetite, pump up your
> metabolism, sleep well and feel energized,
> it would be much easier to stick to your
> diet, wouldn't it? Weight Loss XL gives you
> that extra help you need to stick to your
> weight-loss regimen. Only $6.99! Check it
> out now.