Pedometers are Fitness Rockstars: How Many Steps before You’re Lean? ;)


I haven’t used my pedometer in a while, mostly because I lost it. I also was worried it would remind me too much of my days as a cadet at West Point since all we did was march and count steps, get in step and get yelled at for being out of step. Well today I found it and forgot how wonderful it is! It didn’t trigger any PTSD moments from my Kay-det days, and with my pedometer clipped to my pants and a back pack around my shoulders,  I ended up going on a pretty exciting walking adventure all over New York City.  I felt like a combination between Awesome and a Smurf, and if you combine those two, you get AWESOME SMURF.  😉


Seriously, everyone should add a pedometer to his/her fitness program.

The great thing about pedometers is they make you realize how sedentary you are.  If you clip one on in the morning and wear it till you’re about to go to bed at night, you will be able to see how many steps you take during an average day.  Some of you might be shocked at how little you “step” during the day, especially those of you with cubicle jobs.  In fact, some of you might be terrified after your first day of wearing a pedometer, because it will make you confront how sedentary you really are and perhaps lead you to conclude that you are rapidly becoming an unhealthy, artery-clogged blob with carpel tunnel syndrome, slowly dying behind a computer screen. Scream, Cry, stomp your feet ( Hey, you might get a few more steps that way) and then commit to moving or stepping more the next day.


I especially like pedometers because they remind me that true fitness is about increasing activity in our daily lives. It’s making our activities of daily living more ACTIVE.  Wellness isn’t about fancy gym classes or video games designed for weight loss. Many folks try to make fitness or wellness into  complex, rigorous routines that require special equipment, trainers, expensive gym memberships, special dance routines, complicated weight programs…, all coupled with the latest and greatest supplement or 2 scoops of magic protein powder. All of that stuff helps, but what really matters is increasing activity into your daily lives, which is what wearing a pedometer can help you achieve.  Granted, we are a long way from our hunter and gatherer ancestors who didn’t have to wear pedometers since they were constantly on the move.  There are no buffaloes to slay on the streets of New York City, nomadic tribes to join in Union Square or berries to gather on Broadway.  Still, we all can make an extra effort to move forward and go the extra step, literally. Our bodies and minds will thank us. Instead of playing “How Many Steps Before the Queen,” clip on your pedometer and play, “How Many Steps Before I’m Lean?”  ;)You can also set up a pedometer schedule and challenge yourself daily to exceed your previous pedometer record. I’m a competitive person, so I love this game.  For example, today I was out walking and decided I wanted to take 16,000 steps. Every 2 blocks or so, I’d check my pedometer, only to be inspired that I was getting closer and closer to my goal.  I wandered into shops, up stairs, into subway stations, into bars and into pet stores. In fact, my entire day turned into an adventure! There I was, exploring, finding new things, meeting new people and playing with new puppies and kittens, all because I wanted to exceed my stepping goal.  And THAT is what fitness and overall wellness should be.  They shouldn’t be chores you dread. They should be fun adventures! They should be Recess!  When the fun stops, so do you, and that’s when unhealthy begins.

Of course, people might give you strange looks as you attempt to meet your STEPS goal.  I walked into a bar today and the bartender asked me if I wanted a beer.

“No thank you! I’m just here to take a few steps.  Maybe I’ll take 12,” I joked.  Laughter did not ensue, but every once in a while we all tell bad jokes.

I  stepped around a Bed and Bath store, smelling candles giving off “Caribbean scents” and “Pumpkin Freshness” and “Coconut Delights.”   The woman asked me if I’d like to purchase Today’s special, 3 small candles for 10 dollars.

“No thank you! I’m just in here to get a few more steps.”     She looked confused. Oh, well, it happens.

I walked into a church and took 27 steps all the way to the alter, where, as luck would have it, I didn’t ignite.  Pedometers for Jesus? I’m in!

I stepped around a pet store in between playing with rambunctious furry balls of life, thinking if I bought a dog, I’d have to walk the dog, and that would be even MORE steps!

I went into two different bakeries and inquired about gluten-free cupcakes. They didn’t make them, but that’s okay, because I was just stepping around.

To meet my goal, I ended up walking up 12 flights of stairs to my apartment instead of taking the elevator. My glutes were in pain, but I made my step goal so it was all worth it! 🙂

During my stepping adventure, I sometimes would stop mid-step just to see what my pedometer was recording.  Luckily, my pedometer was measuring steps properly, however there were moments I looked like a psycho playing Freeze tag with myself.  It’s okay, though. Sometimes you have to look psycho to make sure your pedometer is functioning properly.

Don’t worry about converting your steps into miles. When you buy your pedometer ( Or download an app to your iphone, etc.,) they almost always include a chart for converting steps into miles.  If you are super-into it, you can also figure out how many calories each step burns.  Pedometers are also relatively cheap… especially when compared to things like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.  ( Ahem)

Sooo000…., have I convinced you yet to start your stepping adventure?  Perhaps it will make you aware of ways you can increase the amount of steps you take in life, because, rest assured, there are ways all of us can do that. But no matter how you do it, make each step fun. If stepping is a chore, you won’t do it. No one likes chores.

I got mine from   I purchased the Qlip ANY-WEAR pedometer.

Also, don’t forget to thank your body once you’re through taking steps for the day. Walking is incredibly complex, involves a ton of muscles and truly a physiological and physics phenomenon. Be grateful if you can walk. ( Thank you, Body!)  🙂

    Warning: If you’re exceedingly OCD, use pedometers with caution.  You don’t want anything in your life that triggers an all-out Rainman episode.


Dr. E



Today’s dose of Nature Therapy. Photo taken in Pennsylvania.
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