Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Q: I’m using a pedometer to track my walking. If I start bicycling, is there a way to translate biking time into steps to include in my daily step count?
A: Actually, you can clip your pedometer on to your shoe when biking, and your biking can be added right in to your step count. Use the extra clip or safety loop to anchor it to your sock or shoelace to decrease the chance of it falling off. That will give you a more accurate picture of how cycling is adding to your physical activity than trying to convert time you spend cycling into steps to add to your daily total. Depending on how you cycle, you’ll find that the step count or cycling stroke count may be different when walking or cycling the same distance. Many people find it’s lower when they cycle, which reflects how much time they spend coasting without pedaling. On the other hand, if you are with a group or indoor cycling class that has periods in which you pedal intensively, you may find you get in more strokes than when you walk at a moderate pace. The “step” you are taking of boosting physical activity is among the most effective ways to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and weight gain. And you get all this while promoting overall health, energy and sleep quality! Research strongly supports walking as a form of activity to reach all these benefits, yet adding in some other forms of activity can add still more to the benefits you receive by working muscles a little differently, for example. Using a pedometer has been linked with success at increasing physical activity, especially when you set goals and track your progress. So congratulations on many smart “steps” to good health!
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.