How many daily steps do we really need for optimum health? Ten thousand steps seems to be the gold standard in most of what we read to keep diabetes and high blood pressure (as well as several other conditions) at bay. And how do we keep track of all our steps?
Before you decide on a target number of steps per day, call your medical provider and ask how many you should be doing. You might learn that with an otherwise active, healthy life, several thousand steps per day might be enough, rather than the whole 10,000.
How to count those steps is the tricky part. I have several of those little clip-on step counters, and unfortunately, they all come up with different results. I have no way of knowing which are accurate.
There is a popular tracker called Fitbit, a fancy step counter that looks like a watch. Each model has pros and cons, per thousands of online reviews. Some do more than just count steps; they also keep tabs on your location with GPS, your pace and how far you’ve walked, your sleep profile, your heart rate and your stress level. They can be pricey, especially if you want to unlock all the features and sign up for Fitbit Premium to see all your data on the dashboard.
Your best bet is to Google “best step counters for seniors” and wade through a few dozen choices. You’ll find Apple Watch, 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer, Garmin Vivofit 4 activity tracker and so many more. If you have a subscription to Consumer Reports, check their reviews on activity trackers for seniors.
Before you opt for an expensive tracker, visit a store where they are sold and try them out. A watch font might be too tiny to read, or a clip-on might not stay clipped on.
Bonus: Several Medicare Advantage plans provide either free or reduced-cost Fitbit devices.