10,000 Steps a Day

Many people are now trying to ensure they take at least 10,000 steps per day, which has been shown to be a marker of good health. If you walk about 3.5 miles per hour, then you probably take somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 steps in one hour, depending on your height (and, therefore, your stride length).

You can walk that number of steps during a one-hour show on TV just by marching in front of your TV. You'll burn about 150 to 250 calories during that hour. That may not sound like a lot, but if you're just watching TV without moving, you'll only burn about 40 to 60 calories, and not get any boost to your metabolism during that time. Do that for one hour a day for a year, and you'll burn off about 9 pounds!

Of course, you can also buy a step counter, or pedometer, which you can hook onto your pants (at the waistband) or your shoes. These little doodads, which have become so popular that McDonald's was giving them away for a while, are supposed to be an easy way to help you make sure you're getting your 10,000 steps in. The problem is that these machines are often inaccurate, so they either overcount or undercount your steps.

Nevertheless, they aren't expensive and they do work for some people, so you might try one out. Take 100 steps (count), and then see how close the piece of equipment is. If it's pretty close (maybe 95 to 105 steps) then use it. If not, try to make estimates yourself.

Where can I get a pedometer, and how much do they generally cost?

You can buy a pedometer at pretty much any retail sports shop, or online. There are seemingly countless online retailers that sell pedometers; for example, visit EverythingFitness.com and Amazon.com. Pedometers often cost somewhere between $5 and $30, depending on their features. Some even include an FM radio.

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