I wrote this article 13 years ago, and find it true to this day. Here it is, in its entirety:
I love my pedometer!
America On The Move has come to the hospital where I work, and all my friends and I are getting free tiny pedometers that attach to our waist bands and measures every step we take.
Over the years, I've entered similar programs. One pedometer fell off in my pasture land, only to show up a year later, rusted and disabled.
I remember getting another pedometer that measured ten steps for every one.
After that I just let go of the idea of ever having one again.
This pedometer is perfect! It does the job it was designed to do which is to count my steps, one stride at a time.
Since my choice and goal is to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, which surprisingly is only 10,000 steps a day from 11/16 to 12/28, I need to hustle to get those steps in, nevertheless.
10,000 steps measures nearly five miles.
My dogs and I walk 2-4 miles a day. I often take 7,000 steps at work, and lately at home, as well.
If I have to go to the other end of the hospital or my home to complete a task, I do so happily now, knowing that my steps are getting me closer to my goal.
What is my goal?
Besides completing the Pacific Trail hike, getting my free pedometer, and rumors have it, getting a $30.00 bonus, I like the idea of moving my body actively, getting up and moving, stepping and dancing my way through the day.
So do all my friends who have a pedometer. This is where the fun begins.
I was talking to a fellow pedometer owner last night, and we spontaneously broke into steps, dancing to a tune that was transmitted through the hospital sound system.
Another of my fellow pedometer owners is a stalwart Republican. I admittedly represent the other side of the spectrum, politically speaking.
It would seem that I have nothing in common with this woman, and the 2008 election certainly accentuated our opposing viewpoints.
Then we both became obsessed with our pedometers. We chose the same trail. When she told me she slept with her pedometer, so that when she gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and those steps are measured, too-I loved the zaniness of that confession!
So now we have something we can talk about without feeling the need to wring each others neck!
The pedometer creates common ground between people who ordinarily would have nothing to do with each other!
It all began when I took my dogs to the Vet and asked the receptionist if my dog Ulysses was over weight.
She instructed me to look straight down upon his standing body and if I saw obvious bulges, then I would have to take him on more walks.
So I looked down at him, and saw a protruding bulge on both sides of his body. I knew then that I would be taking Ule and my other dog Mukunda on daily disciplined walks.
About one week into our new routine, a four mile walk along the Mill Stream in what is called the (Lancaster) County Park, I heard about the pedometer and thought that recording steps would add a little excitement to what I had vowed to do for my dogs, and also for myself.
Five days of walking melted those bulges off both dogs.
My bulges vanish ever so slightly every day.
I notice we all sleep better; Mukunda in particular loves his food more than he ever did (if that is possible)!!
I take deeper and more conscious breaths.
Ulysses snores more contentedly when he sleeps.
Muki used to jump in and out of the bed all night long but now he stays in one place for hours, as we all snuggle together on these wonderful long winter's nights, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.
And we vow to reject a sedentary life this year, one day at a time.
The pedometer serves as a motivation tool to keep moving throughout the day and night. The America On The Move web site allows me to log the number of steps I take every day, then shows where I am along the Pacific Crest Trail. Right now, I'm hanging out at Death Valley. Soon I will arrive at Crater Lake. By December 28th, I should have completed the hike.
The trail map is a fun way for my imagination to play, but the exercise and activity that my pedometer inspires is creating a daily walking and running habit, connecting me to people and giving all of us a lifestyle we want to maintain.
Research shows that pedometer accuracy can vary widely, depending on the make and model.
I am happy to report that the America On The Move pedometer ranks #2 as one of the best pedometers on the market.
I can hardly wait to tell all my friends!!
Now I use a Fitbit and enter contests each week online to see who can get the most steps .The “Weekend Warrior” is another motivational contest done on weekends.
Consider these facts concerning the sedentary American Lifestyle: The United States is the most overweight nation in the world.
More than 120 million Americans -- 65 percent of the adult population -- are overweight; nearly 59 million, or 31 percent, are obese.
More than 60 percent of American adults do not get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and 25 percent of American adults aren't physically active at all. Source: America On the Move
As Jane Goodall once famously said: Your dog gives walking a purpose.
I’ve continued the hospital program mentioned above to this day. My current home borders a lovely township park where my dog Pearl and I walk daily, ideally over 10K steps a day.
I purchased a Street Strider exactly a year ago, as a way to strengthen all the muscle groups, and it has served that purpose beautifully. The Street Strider is a moving elliptical, cross country ski and when it turns corners, serves to shore up abdominal muscles. Mood elevation is an added benefit, as are all forms of exercise.
Body, mind and spirit are enhanced holistically through an exercise program. Do not allow winter weather to thwart your best intentions.
Remember this: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
Go for it!!