Tonight on Channel 5 we are going to see if TV 5 News Anchor Jim Morris just sits around all day being debonairre, by attaching a Pedometer to his waist to measure his steps. His pedometer is part of the Maine in Motion program of the Maine Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, Health, and Wellness.
What's the point of the pedometer and the Maine in Motion program? We all know that exercise is a key component of weight control, of keeping off those extra pounds. We also know that most of us don't exercise as much as we should. But most of also think we are more active than we really are; we overestimate how much move around in the course of a normal day, and therefore burn off fewer calories than we think just running around. (We also tend to underestimate how many calories we eat - that combination of overestimating activity and underestimating calories is deadly and causes weight gain.)
A simple little device called a pedometer can help us get a better idea of how much we really move, and how much more we need to move in order to burn off enough calories. Worn on the waist, the little device counts our steps, each one, all day long. The typical adult doing a typical job around a desk walks about 5000 steps per day. That sounds like a lot, but it is actually only about half of the 10,000 steps per day that should be the activity target of a healthy adult trying to maintain a healthy weight.
10,000 steps - that should be the goal for most of us. And the pedometer can help us, by reminding us when we need to do more, and by helping us to find little activities that can add up to 10,000 steps and better health. Taking the stairs, walking to the corner store, etc - these all help. But most of us will need to take a specific walk or run, or do another exercise each day, to hit 10,000 steps. Studies have shown that if you do that you can help control your weight, and if you do it steadily each day for 12 weeks you are much more likely to do it over the long haul.
That pedometer proof of the need for exercise beyond routine daily work / home activity is one of the key lessons we can learn from the pedometer. Most of us need to add in a specific exercise program to our daily routine to keep a healthy weight and walk those 10,000 steps. The pedometer is not perfectly accurate, but it tells the truth pretty well about how active we really are.
For more information on walking, check out the Maine in Motion information on the web at the web site of the Maine Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, Health and Wellness www.mainephysicalactivity.org. There is also a specific diet plan built around pedometer use for those interested - the Step Diet. There is a book about it that not only gives detailed information about how to build your step diet to health, but it comes with a pedometer.