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Pedometers: The Magic Pill for Better Health

By Matt Ream

If there were a pill you could take that could help you lose weight, get in better shape, and live a longer, healthier life, wouldn't you want to know about it?

The good news is, there is such a pill, and it doesn't require a prescription, nor is it available “over the counter.” It's a simple step counter, or pedometer, and it has powers you would not believe to improve your health and wellness, lose weight, and live longer.

What's a pedometer? It's a simple electronic device you wear on your waistband that counts steps. Technically, a pedometer calculates distance, as opposed to a step counter, which only counts steps. The pedometer still counts steps, and uses a user-input stride length to calculate the distance. Other pedometers show calories burned, elapsed exercise time, steps per minute, and on and on. All you really need is something that accurately counts steps. Other features can be nice, but many are not necessary.

Why is it important to count steps? It's a primary indication of the activity you are engaged in during the day. Studies have shown that you don't need to dedicate a specific time to exercise, per se, but smaller bouts of activity can have the same effect as one longer, extended period.

That means that making small changes in your daily routine can have tremendous effects on your health. Park farther from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, pace while you're on the phone, walk with the dog instead of just letting her go, and go down the hall instead of sending an e-mail or picking up the phone.

By taking more steps-essentially increasing your daily activity and burning more calories-you are becoming more physically active. The American Medical Association says that by increasing your activity level, you will:

· Increase stamina
· Stimulate weight loss
· Lower blood cholesterol
· Lower blood pressure
· Improve self image
· Improve mood
· Enhance quality of life

As if that weren't enough, the AMA says you will also:

· Sleep better
· Strengthen your heart and lungs
· Decrease stress
· Increase energy
· Maintain appropriate weight
· Lower triglycerides
· Control blood sugar levels/diabetes
· Feel better
· Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
· Improve productivity
· Build an maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
· Increase muscle tone
· Reduce risk if dying prematurely

If any of these benefits are important to you, it's vital that you begin to move more. The American College of Sports Medicine traditionally prescribes the following as the appropriate level of activity in order to get these benefits:

· Frequency: 3 - 5 days per week
· Intensity: 60% to 90% of maximal heart rate
· Duration: 20 - 60 minutes

If you can't take 30 minutes to exercise, try three 10-minute walking sessions throughout the day. Walk briskly to get the maximum benefit. If you have been sedentary, check with a doctor and start slow.

Your new life begins today, and it will be a healthier, longer, and happier life!

About the author:
Download our FREE pedometer ebook: 'Simple Steps to Fitness: A Beginner's Guide to Pedometers' at will give you more information on choosing and using your pedometer.

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