When she turned 60, my mom got really into walking. Having finally found an exercise that she could stick to and not make excuses to avoid, she even got a pedometer to help her keep track of her “steps.” Like a school kid hungry for gold stars, my mom became step-obsessed.
When she’d come to visit, she’d insist on a walk in my neighborhood each morning. And she wouldn’t do any sightseeing until she had walked most of her daily allotment. Her goal was 10,000 steps a day and she had a friendly competition going on with her best friends to see who could be the first to reach a million steps.
My mom was such a devotee to her pedometer that she tried to make converts out of the rest of the family. She purchased a pedometer for me and put it in my Christmas stocking. I never even took it out of the box, thinking that at 30 I was much too young, and not dorky enough, for a pedometer. Now that I’m 35, I realize I was wrong.
Here are 7 reasons why a pedometer is a good exercise tool for my mom, myself, you—and the rest of our families:
1. A pedometer doesn't lie.
A pedometer is a clear indicator of how far you’ve walked, and how many exercise steps you have taken. It takes the guessing and estimating away, and gives you exact results.
2. You don’t have to think about it.
Just wear it in your bra, or on your waistband, and forget about it for the rest of the day. (Just don’t wash it with your delicates!)
3. They come in many different styles—meaning there's one for you.
You can buy simple step counters or hi-tech gadgets that sync with your phone and computer to tabulate calories burned and monitor heart rate. Whatever your fitness goals, there’s a pedometer out there to suit your exercise preferences.
4. They’re pretty cheap.
Even if you do send it through the wash, you can probably afford a replacement. It’s not (necessarily) a hi-tech home addition, and it's not something that needs to be installed professionally. It fits in the palm of your hand, and it won’t collect dust like the treadmill in the corner of your garage that is used mostly for line-drying laundry.
5. You can buy one for your friend (or daughter!).
Walk together and talk out what’s eating at you while you exercise together. My mom has a t-shirt that she wears while walking that says, “Walking is cheaper then therapy.” It’s free in fact.
6. You'll see the world.
Your pedometer gets you out the door to see the world. (Or it keeps you inside but gives you an incentive to take the stairs.) It can help shake up your routine.
7. It complements other training programs.
Having a pedometer won’t take away from the other exercise regimes you’ve committed yourself to. Walking with your pedometer can be your only exercise for the day or it can go along with whatever else you do. My mom was the first to reach a million steps and her friends even made her a little trophy. She kept the trophy, but only until a new million step winner was crowned. The competition continued and goes to this day. That trophy has been passed back and forth between my mom and her friends for 10 years now. They are healthier than they’ve ever been.