Wearing a pedometer keeps you accountable to your fitness goals.
Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images News/Getty Images
A pedometer isn't a necessary workout gadget, but it helps track the number of steps you take daily. Knowing how many steps you take each day may encourage you to walk more. As a result, your average steps per day will increase as you try to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Every Step You Take
On average, men take approximately 6,000 steps a day while women take approximately 5,300 steps a day. While any added physical activity can improve your health, the American Heart Association, AHA, recommends an average of 10,000 steps each day. Some of these steps need to be accrued while doing short, 10-minute sessions of continuous movement to increase your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
What's Your Level?
The average number of daily steps you take indicates your fitness level. If you take under 5,000 steps a day, you lead a sedentary lifestyle and may lack endurance. If you take between 5,000 and 7,499 steps per day, your lifestyle is on the lower active side. Taking between 7,500 and 9,999 steps daily indicates a somewhat active lifestyle. If you take between 10,000 steps and 12,499 steps daily, you have an active lifestyle. Step counts greater than 12,500 a day indicate an active lifestyle.
If you find yourself struggling to reach the daily goal of 10,000 steps, make small changes to increase your daily steps. For example, walk the dog instead of letting him run in the yard, mall walk when shopping, ditch the phone and instead walk and talk with a friend, push mow the grass, park farther away from store entrances, walk on coffee breaks or walk to a co-worker's office instead of sending an e-mail. The AHA suggests taking an additional 1,000 steps a day every week until you reach 10,000.
Your pedometer is only as good as its accuracy. Some of the free or less expensive pedometers only count an average number of steps. Test your pedometer for accuracy by attaching it to your waistband and re-setting the counter to zero. Walk and count until you reach 50 steps. View the number on your pedometer. According to Werner W.K. Hoeger and Sharon A. HoegerIf, authors of "Lifetime Physical Fitness and Wellness: A Personalized Program," you can have confidence in your gadget if the reading is within 10 percent of 50 steps, which is between 45 and 55 steps.