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Planning Retirement Online

Put a spring in your step

March 2011
  

walkingSpring can only be just around the corner, and that means better weather and renewed enthusiasm to get fit and active.

We may be of an age where we don’t want to be running around with ipods plugged to our ear and one handed texting as we move along – hearing the bird song and natural sounds of the outdoors can be part of the attraction of taking exercise. But sometimes a bit of modern technology can be a real boost.

Pedometers have been around forever, devices that measure your footsteps and determine how far you have gone. However, thanks to modern digital developments, today you can buy lightweight, easy to use and even better, incredibly accurate pedometers that you can really rely on.

They can give surprising insight into our normal everyday activity. Walking to the local shops can actually prove to be more vigorous exercise than you realized, or a pedometer could prove that your lifestyle is exceptionally sedentary.

Either way, today they are fun to use. You can wear a pedometer all day every day to give a good overview of your life or wear it just when you go out walking or jogging.

Pedometers can also include a list of additional features that can make life even more interesting – how many calories you are burning, the time, stopwatches and speed estimators, pulse rate readers and so on. For some, pedometers can become a way of life!

Pedometers today have a whole group of new words that mean nothing to many of us, things like pendulum technology and accelerometers! But for basic use, all you really need is a pedometer with a reset button that is easy to use so that you can reset it easily when you want.

It should also be comfortable to wear and secure. Ideally, it is good to get a pedometer that you can read without taking it off, and it also needs to be positioned so that when you move, your belt or parts of your clothing don’t bang into the pedometer and reset the numbers.

Accurately setting a pedometer is of course important if you want to know how far you are walking rather than just the number of steps. All pedometers come with full instructions on how to do this, but generally you need to measure your average step length, ie the distance from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. The average is generally around 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) for women and 2.5 feet (0.762 metres) for men, but of course it depends on your height, length of leg and natural walking style.

If you really want to ensure you have correct measurements, visit http://walking.about.com/library/walk/blgooglemap1.htm

This website is a bit complicated but if you can get the hang of it, you can draw in your walking route anywhere in the world and it will give you the exact distance.

On the subject of getting technical, if you want to move up a gear there are some really high tech pedometers available that upload your walking data, showing you graphs and charts, and some that you can use to download information onto your computer for further assessment. Some use a footpod or FPS sensor to give an even more accurate speed or distance reading.

Any sports shop will give you advice on pedometers, or look on line. They aren’t too expensive and can add a lot of fun to life – in fact they really can put a spring in your step!!!

 
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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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