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Move It To Lose It: How Pedometers Can Help You Win at Weight Loss


News you can use to lose: Researchers say that just by putting on a pedometer, you can sit less, move more and lose weight. This inexpensive option can particularly benefit those with desk jobs, who may tend to spend as much as eight hours a day sitting in front of a computer.

What the Study Involved

Participants wore inexpensive pedometers to track their leg movements. Linked to computers, the pedometers triggered encouraging emails about moving more, eating right and general exercise. The result: The average weight loss was about 2.5 pounds during the 12 weeks of research. "Even if somebody works out 30 minutes a day, the fact that they're sitting and not moving for long periods of time for the rest of the day is, in and of itself, detrimental to their health and well-being, physiologically," said Saurabh Thosar, an associate instructor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, in a university news release about the study.

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"This is a very simple intervention that can reach a large number of people at a low cost," noted study co-author, Jeanne Johnston, clinical associate professor in the School of Public Health's department of kinesiology. "As companies and communities develop programs to increase physical activity and positively impact health parameters such as weight, there is a need to think of the associated costs."

How to Make It Work For You

Pedometers typically range from as little as $10 to $50 or more. Choose a brand that is sturdy and has integrated computer software, which makes it easy to track your progress, discover how many calories you've burned and even compete with others. For example, you might want to check with your human resources department and ask if the company would be willing to sponsor pedometers for staff members. The minimal cost would be worth it in the term of health savings, since exercise reduces blood pressure, lowers stress, improves mood and helps with weight loss. Can't find a buddy to encourage you to walk more during the day? Recruit a neighbor, a relative or that very important member of the family: Fido the Dog.

What to Set as a Goal

Most experts suggest setting 10,000 steps as a final goal. That is equal to five miles, according to the Walking Site. However, set an essential goal based on your starting point. For example, if you discover that you typically walk 2,000 steps a day, then aim to increase it to 2,500 steps by the end of the week. Each week, add on more steps until you achieve that 10,000 step goal.