Many MyGraphite.com members use pedometers for measuring physical activity. For those of you who don't know, a pedometer is a small device that counts the number of steps you take each day. It clips to your belt or your clothing. With some models, you can carry them in a pocket or in your purse. We will write a separate post on these awesome little devices in the near future, but for now I want to address a question that has been asked by several members within the past couple weeks. The question is "how do you calculate the 'step equivalent' of various exercises other than walking?" Most of the inquiries have asked about the 'step equivalent' of biking. Here's the answer:
Choose your biking speed based on the choices below. The numeric value on the right is the MET value for the particular activity.
Bicycling, <10 mph, leisure, for pleasure: 4.0
Bicycling, 10-11.9 mph, leisure, slow, light effort: 6.0
Bicycling, 12-13.9 mph, leisure, moderate effort: 8.0
Bicycling, >20 mph, racing, not drafting: 10.0
Note: The MET value is a ratio used measuring the energy cost (calories burned) of various activities. Find out more about METs.
To calculate the 'step equivalent' of biking, we need to make several assumptions.
1) Assume that each mile you walk at a moderate pace (3 mph) takes 20 minutes and requires approx 2000 steps. (32” stride length)
2) The MET value of walking at this speed is 3.3.
Next, find the MET value of your bicycling speed from the list above.
Example: Biking < 10 mph has a MET value of 4.0
Divide the Biking MET by the MET value of walking at a moderate pace (3.3).
Example for Biking < 10 mph: 4.0 / 3.3 = 1.2
This means that each 20 minutes of 'biking < 10 mph' is worth 1.2 times as many steps as each 20 minutes of walking. 1.2 x 2000 steps = 2400 steps.
Therefore, the 'step equivalent' of 20 minutes of leisure riding is 2400 steps.
If your average biking speed is in the 12 - 13.9 mph range, your 20 minute ride would be the equivalent of 4800 steps! If you're on a 10,000 step (per day) program, a bit of moderate biking is going to help a lot.
This is why bicycle riding is the 'secret weapon' of weight loss. Ride your bike most days of the week, do a bit of calorie control on the intake side and and the pounds will melt!
We realize this is probably more math than most people will want to deal with, so you can expect to see a 'step equivalent' calculator on the MyGraphite site in the upcoming release due out before the end of June.