New Zealand's Healthiest Schools Blog
Happy children kids group at swimming pool class learning to swim

Activity tracking without a pedometer

The 2018 AIA and Sovereign New Zealand’s Healthiest Schools Challenge has over 57,000 participants including children, teachers, family & friends, and AIA & Sovereign staff. While the Challenge asks you to enter your step count, we want to make sure it’s easy for all participants to experience the fun and be active, without feeling reliant on an activity tracking device.

It’s common to forget to wear pedometers or you might be exercising without taking any steps at all (like swimming), meaning activity isn’t always 100% accounted for by tracking devices. From time to time, you may not have access to a pedometer, or it may get lost, broken or have technical glitches.

If any of the above applies to you, don’t panic!

Whilst the pedometers add a fun, visual element to the New Zealand Healthiest Schools Challenge, having one is not a requirement and it’s just as easy to participate without a pedometer.

Below is an easy guideline to help us estimate our daily or weekly activity when inputting steps to move our avatars around the virtual world:

Activity estimates for kids:

5,000 steps per day – I do basic physical movement, but I don’t do too much sport or activity
7,500 steps per day – I am moderately active throughout the day, this may include walking to and from school and playing active games during school breaks
10,000+ steps per day – I’m extra active throughout the day and I play sport or active games

Activity estimates for adults:

5,000 steps per day – I sit most of the day and am not that active outside of work
5,000-7,000 steps per day – I sit most of the day and am a little active outside of work
7,500-10,000 steps per day – I walk a bit to/at work and am active 3+ times a week outside of work
10,000-12,500 steps per day – I’m on my feet most of the time at work and am active 3+ times a week outside of work
12,500+ steps per day – I am very active with sports or exercise 5+ times a week

Other ideas for classes to monitor physical activity:

Create a ‘pacesetter’ team (good if you’re low on pedometers)

Get groups of children to take turns at wearing the pedometers each day or week and create the pace for the rest of the class to keep up with. Different children will have a different pace, so it can work well for all levels in the class. Use the daily average of that group to move your class around the virtual course. It’s a fun way to get everyone to have a turn with a pedometer, give everyone a turn to be responsible for motivating their peers to join in an activity with them.

Set up a chart an estimate chart in the classroom (good if you aren’t using pedometers)

Print out the above estimates and get kids to score themselves each day or week to keep track of their progress. You could simplify the activity by 1, 2 and 3 as above if step numbers get too high and do the weekly calculating for them. This keeps kids thinking about how active they are without relying on a device.

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