For the Appeal
During the last two weeks pedometers have been the subject of interest in my fitness classes. I have been wearing one that was given to me by a gentleman in my Better Breathing class. Pedometers are generally small and efficient, this one is no exception. It’s easy to clip on and move around but I found that information gained can be easily lost.
While I was testing myself I wore the “bug” on my hip, in front and then in back. I wore it on one shoe and then the other, and I paced my walking steps and checked the reading for accuracy. Two of my fitness students with two different types of pedometers ran the same classes at two different exercise levels; low impact and high. I tested my chair classes at the Senior Center, both standing and sitting and my slower breathing classes too. I wore the pedometer for an hour class, a 45-minute class and I wore it for 12 hours that included four fitness classes. My husband wore it for a two-mile walk. What I ended up with was a whole lot of statistics that don’t mean much.
The most important factor to remember is that the information I came up with is relevant only to my body, my stride, my amount of enthusiasm (which varies, believe me), and how long the running sequences are in the program. It didn’t seem to matter much whether the pedometer was a $20 variety or a more expensive one. They were all comparable. The pedometer I used had fewer features than the other two, but still caught me off guard when it converted to kilometers in the middle of my 12-hour day. On my model, you can set your stride before you begin. I left it on 30 inches, even though my stride wasn’t that long. In fitness classes there is a lot of up and down and hip movement. So, I looked for consistency on time and type of class.
What I found at the end of the two weeks of testing is that my hour fitness classes were very consistent, showing between two-and-a-half to three miles for one hour, depending on how long the running sequences. What was different was the use of low or high impact moves. There was a difference of around 300 less steps for low impact. When the floor work began, I moved the pedometer to my shoe but it made very little difference, only 10 or 20 steps added for 20 minutes of floor work. So, even if you are working hard on your floor work, you aren’t going to get much of a reading for your sweat. My 12-hour test day showed slightly less than 10 miles. The Senior chair classes showed one half mile. My husband found about a twenty percent over-read for his walk. On average, for every 2,000 steps the pedometer registered close to one mile.
If you want to try using a pedometer, first read the instructions and learn to work it to attain the best accuracy. Then don’t do comparisons with anyone else, your movement is strictly your own. It is a fun way to document the improvement in your own capability. Try it!
• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.