Walk this way

A few years ago I attended a week long training course in Munich, Germany.  We were split up into groups and each given a pedometer.  The group that completed the most steps at the end of the week would receive a prize.  It was a great exercise for team bonding - not only did we get to explore Munich, we also got to know each other (we were a multicultural group from different work disciplines) and we all had the same goal - lots of steps!

Before the course, I'd never paid much attention to activity trackers.  I knew a few friends that had Fitbits but hadn't seen what the fuss was all about.  After the course I bought myself a Fitbit. There was something about the competitive nature of tracking my steps that motivated me to go out and get moving.  

Fitbit was founded in 2007 and tracks every part of your day—including activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep.  Admittedly I only use mine to track activity.  There are other competitors on the market such as Garmin, Apple and Samsung.  

Interestingly the first podometer was developed in 1780 by Abraham-Louis Perrelet.  It measured the steps and distance while walking and was based on a mechanism to power a self-winding watch.  That was a long time ago!

Today, while there is much debate around the accuracy of activity trackers and whether 10,000 steps per day is the magic number to aim for, they do encourage movement and some movement is always better than none.  The Ministry of Health in New Zealand encourages walking for all fitness levels and gives great tips on where to start.  See my post on Orakei for an example of a great walk in Auckland.

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