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Pedometers
Old 12-22-2009, 09:09 AM   #1
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Pedometers

Any of you wear a pedometer? I've been doing it for better than 10 years now. My current one is quite accurate, and doesn't have to be worn on the belt. I slip it into a watch pocket if I have one, or a buttoned back pocket if not. They won't record very short or gliding movements like dancing, but they seem great for walking or running.

I am getting very good at estimating how far a trip has been. If I am mostly around home in the morning, with maybe a few trips down to the trash or recycling bins I'll usually be below 1000. By day's end I want to have 10,000 or more. Yesterday I did over 20,000, which for my stride is over 10 miles. And none of it was "taking a walk"-rather just preferring to walk on my errands and explorations. I am tending to buy only one day's food at a time (other than things like pop, condiments, TP, etc), so just scoring food get's me out quite a bit. Yesterday I went to Trader Joe and packed back wine and olive oil and mayo and nuts. Then later I walked halfway downtown doing this and that errand, then bussed the rest of the way. Walked around down there, went to my bank, bought a gift at Macy's, then hiked down into the South Lake Union area to get a grass fed steak for dinner. By then I was thirsty and so I walked back to Pine St and stopped at the Bauhaus for water and a double short decaf Americano. I sat at a west window next to a couple of cute Chinese girls and watched the tree on top of the space needle light up in the gloom.

I would have bussed from there, but by now I was encouraged by how much I had walked, so I hiked on up the rest of the way to home, making one short stop for a bottle of diet pop, and one for some pork rinds.

Whatever work I need to do I tend to do early. Then the rest of my day is free for entertaining myself and using up excess energy so I can have a good shot at sleeping well. Last night I really did that.

I bought a large capacity external frame pack at a yard sale last fall, and I use that to haul back specials like "Seltzer 12 Packs, Buy 2, Get One Free". I still need my car for social life and easy access to my kids and granddaughter, but if I solve that I will go car-free.

Ha
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:12 AM   #2
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Ha, I did wear one for a while when I found out that you need to do a minimum of 10,000 steps a day to just maintain your weight and more to lose. I was shocked at how little I was doing. I thought I was really active but unless I made an effort my total was about 3,500 a day.

I didn't know it would work if it was in my pocket. I lost a couple because I had them on my waist and must have knocked them off and not known.

I have a plan to do similar to what you do with groceries in the new year. It is about a 3.5 mile round trip to our supermarket and I figure if I only need a couple of items I am going to start walking if the weather is good ie. as long as there is no rain. I figure it beats me going on the treadmill and it's good to be out in the fresh air.
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:12 AM   #3
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I have a good one I got in Japan that attaches to my keyring. It is very accurate for walking, but not as good for jogging or running. I have one that is integrated into a heart rate (touch) monitoring wristwatch that works better for a run, but turns itself off if it does not detect activity for a while, making it impossible to use to track total daily movement, unless you always turn it on when getting up from your desk. That is where the pocket model comes in handy...always on, always monitoring (but doesn't catch every step when running).

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Old 12-22-2009, 11:32 AM   #4
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I used a pedometer until my knees got iffy about three years ago. Mine is the kind worn on a belt, works well but I never got the hang of adjusting it for steep inclines. 10,000 steps is a lot, whoa, HaHa, 20,000, that's impressive. Using one for a few months is, as DM says, eye opening! Still gives me a sense of how far I've roamed. I've found grocery carrying to be good resistance exercise but I let the supermarket delivery people bring the heavy two-fers.

btw, great post, HaHa, sounds like a perfect day in the city.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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I have a cheap pedometer that I won in a drawing at Weight Watchers about 9 years ago. I don't use it, though, because I thought I would have to calibrate it for the length of my stride. I never got around to doing that. The idea of simply counting steps instead sounds better to me.

Ha, I am glad to read that you got a good night's sleep last night! I always seem to these days, but was happy that I awakened at 7 AM this morning instead of 11 AM as I did yesterday morning. Half the day was gone yesterday, but today I have had some fun and I am ready to start painting a wall in my dressing room pretty soon.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CuppaJoe View Post
btw, great post, HaHa, sounds like a perfect day in the city.
Thanks Cuppa, it really was. I have been sad about my brother's death, and getting out and seeing so much life on the streets is really good for me. One woman in my building was out and coming in when I went out and she said, "You know, tomorrow the days start getting longer!" I had totally forgotten about the solstice, something that I have rarely missed since coming North. She is big walker too-probably about 65 and very thin. Always wears some sort of cute hat, a beret or a tam or something fuzzy. I think partly she walks to keep her worries at bay, and it usually seems to be working. Only occasionally she looks very distraught.

Several have mentioned calibration and issues such as adjustments for walking on hills. I pretty much ignore mileage except in my posts here. Strides are shorter uphill, and to some degree downhill too- but the energy cost of walking on hills (especially coming up!) is so much greater than walking on the level I just ignore that aspect. I find it easier to walk on level or near level gound with a 40# load than to walk up any sort of hill even unburdened. I remember when I used to pack a deer or a boned elk-quarter up one of those steep canyons in the brush and I wonder where that guy went.

Ha
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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How about some brand names? I've used pedometers in the past, but they were always pretty cheap and unreliable. I'd walk a measured distance and they would be off by 10% or more. I'd also count my steps and compare, and they'd be off pretty significantly that way too. I'm sort of an anal analyst type , and I like to measure. My best method so far is using my cellphone GPS software to track my path as I walk. The distance measurements are perfect, almost to the meter. But I use that to trace hikes or walks, not to keep track of daily totals. I would like to have something that counts the steps and daily distance.
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:12 PM   #8
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The one i use is a pop-up on this page: the Omron Go Smart HJ112. I am kind of intimidated by your stated requirements though, this may not be up to your needs.

ha
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:28 PM   #9
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Ha, interesting about your neighbour. My ILs neighbour is in her late 80s but walks at least 10 miles every day. She is a survivor of WWII and apparently she and her family were POWs and were marched between camps. Not sure where, may have been somewhere in Asia. Anyway she witnessed a lot of people dying because they did not have the strength to complete the march day after day. She has been doing this for as long as she has been a neighbour of my ILs and that is 35+ years. She is healthy as anything and does the walk regardless of how bad the weather is. Just goes to show how life's events stay with people.
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:39 PM   #10
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How about some brand names? I've used pedometers in the past, but they were always pretty cheap and unreliable.
I've used some cheap pedometers in the past and had much the same experience as you. they weren't very accurate.

Last summer I bought an Omron HJ-113, which seems to be fairly accurate. It has two step-counting sensors that are mounted on different axes. The use of two sensors seems to be the trick for getting accuracy. It also measures aerobic steps using a built in timer. If the the step interval drops below a certain time value, then the steps counts as aerobic steps. It has has a calibration feature, which requires counting the number of steps it takes to walk a certain distance (25 feet if my memory serves me correctly). This is used to calculate the distance one walks. Mine is only sort of calibrated since it's awkward for me to find a clear 25 foot route in my condo. The calibration feature isn't super important to me since I'm more interested in the total number of steps.

Omron makes three models that are similar to the one I have. The low end model has one sensor, the middle model has two sensors (the one I have), and the high end model has two sensors and a data link so you can record the data on your computer (the latter isn't a feature that's important to me).

It appears to me that the key feature to get -- if you want accuracy -- is TWO sensors.
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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Pedometers? You folks wear a device to measure small children? I think there is something very wrong here...
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I have a plan to do similar to what you do with groceries in the new year. It is about a 3.5 mile round trip to our supermarket and I figure if I only need a couple of items I am going to start walking if the weather is good ie. as long as there is no rain. I figure it beats me going on the treadmill and it's good to be out in the fresh air.
Danger, if you plan to use a pack use a comfortable one. With heavy loads the hardest part is getting it onto your back and properly balanced. Many or maybe most people where I am walk to shop. One thing I see often with women is a little tow behind cart, like an old fashioned golf cart.

I almost always use a pack, because it leaves my hands free for an umbrella, a pop, etc. If I wind up getting more than the pack I have taken will hold, I then carry bags. One for a rainy day, two if dry. But no paper bags when it looks like rain!

Ha
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:24 PM   #13
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Pedometers? You folks wear a device to measure small children? I think there is something very wrong here...
Talk about wrong - in spanish pedo means fart - so this is really a fartmeter. Reminds me of a mythbusters episode
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:45 PM   #14
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I had one for awhile.... a coworker used to do the 10,000 steps... and when I got back to Texas, I bought one...

Lost the first one in a week... the second I had for a couple of months...

But found out that I had a LOT of steps when riding the bus... heck, I could get maybe 2,000 to 3,000 steps on the bus from downtown to my car

Then I started to turn it off while on the bus and in the car... but then found out I did not turn it back on and had a whopping 700 steps for the day...

When I lost the second one.... just did not buy another....
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:23 PM   #15
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But found out that I had a LOT of steps when riding the bus... heck, I could get maybe 2,000 to 3,000 steps on the bus from downtown to my car
One of my earlier ones did this. It wouldn't count dance steps, but it did count bouncing around on a bus. I have checked my current one, and that doesn't seem to be an issue. Maybe we have smooth running busses, or I am a smooth busser.

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Old 12-22-2009, 06:40 PM   #16
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Ha, do you have an iPod? They make a pedometer that is quite accurate (the transmitter sits in a little pouch on your shoe lace, with the receiver plugged into the iPod) for about $30. I used to use it jogging.

Probably not worth buying an iPod for, but if you have one or were thinking of getting one, it might be interesting to check it out.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:54 PM   #17
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I have the same model pedometer that you have HaHa. I'm really in awe of how many steps you are taking. The most that I have ever done, using my pedometer, was about 8000. I sit too much and I really don't have any place to really walk to. So, I only "take a walk" when I want to get some steps in. Right now with the ice and snow I'm really sitting around a lot. I'm glad you have such a varied walking routine and actually have places to see and things to do while out on your daily walks.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:34 AM   #18
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I found that it did not matter what brand I used or the accuracy, it was having the thing attached to myself that was the motivator. I am certain I did a lot more activity when I wore one than when I didn't. I almost felt like a failure if I did not complete my target of 10,000.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:50 AM   #19
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I use my pedometer to measure walking routes when we are in a new location. I try to do a morning walk of 2 miles everyday. Once I have a route or two established I usually set my pedometer aside.

I calibrated my pedometer when I had a treadmill and walked 2 miles at my normal "morning walk" pace. That gave me my step length.

The few times I have worn my pedometer on a hiking trail with a published length at the trailhead, it have been uncannily accurate. Very pleasing to me.

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Old 12-23-2009, 11:31 AM   #20
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In Spanish pedometer sounds like a gadget that measures/calculates farts. Fart is Pedo in Spanish. Even though the root "pedo" is used in several senses, it would never be used that way. We have another name for that gizmo.
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