FOOD & FITNESS / OCT. 16, 2014
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How to Use a Pedometer or Step Counter at Work

Using a pedometer is a great way to measure your activity and see just how much you walk during the day. Walking is not only a great form of exercise, especially for busy professionals, but it’s also critical to your health. Sitting in a chair for hours without standing or walking around can lead to chronic back pain, leg pain, spider veins and more. But you may not do a lot of walking at your office, so how can you effectively measure steps at work?

Using a pedometer

There are numerous options on the market for pedometers. Some estimate calories consumed and burned by syncing with smartphones and apps like MyFitnessPal and the Nike Fuel app. Many track your sleep habits so you can see what kind of sleep patterns you have--whether you’re moving around a lot at night or sleeping soundly.

Most of these "fitness trackers" are also pedometers, but they come in a convenient wristband rather than a bud you clip on to your belt or pocket. They do a lot more than counting your steps, which can be helpful to people who want to improve their level of activity or their diet/calorie consumption.

After setting up your pedometer, you should try to wear it everywhere you go

Not only will this help you keep track of how active you are throughout the day, but it also tells you when you aren’t active enough; the average person should aim for around 10,000 steps per day assuming they have no disabilities or prior injuries.

As always, you should check with your doctor if you have questions about your goals. Once you have an ideal step count in mind, it can become a fun challenge to try and meet that at work every day.

There are innumerable ways to move around at work

Try parking father away in the parking lot to add to your goal, or take the steps instead of the elevator (if you work in a really tall building, try splitting the trip up in half). If you’re going for lunch, walk to the cafeteria or restaurant if feasible. Instead of ordering out, try walking over and placing an order for pick-up.

If you’re in a meeting and feeling restless, consider moving around just a bit. Try holding a standing meeting where everyone can stand at the table rather than sit--it may be a much needed break for someone who’s been sitting at their desk all day. Though pacing may be distracting to some, it can help you stretch your legs and get in your steps.

Finally, try and take an afternoon walk. Whether you make a trip around the outside of your building or down to some popular food trucks, walking in the afternoon is a great way to get fresh air and exercise, both of which can help power you through the rest of the day.

If you work in the service industry, you’ll probably find that depending on your role, you have an easier time meeting your step goal. But, if you work in a smaller store or restaurant, try taking the long way around to an aisle or section of your work. If you’re a bartender or a clerk, try moving around behind the counter more often, or make an effort to deliver drinks to tables.

On average, you should get up and walk around once or twice every hour. Most companies will be okay with you taking 10 minutes every hour to get up and walk around--and it’s a great way to get your steps in. Try walking to the coffee machine or water cooler more often, or even just a quick trip to the restroom. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you’re up and moving around.

If these simple tips can help improve your health and overall fitness then surely it is worth just that small bit of effort every day.



Creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by MTSOfan.

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