Walking and pedometers


Robbie Williams has one. Cameron Diaz has one. They're this year's lifestyle accessory for those in the know. A pedometer counts the number of steps you take as you go about your daily life. Health experts say that 10,000 steps should be taken each day in order to keep in good trim. That sounds like a lot but in actual fact a casual stroll from Marienplatz to Odeonsplatz is already over 1,000 steps. And remember, all those paces from your desk to the coffee machine and back are counted as well. Try wearing a pedometer for a couple of days and you'll soon find yourself addicted. You won't be able to rest each day until your 10k steps have been walked. Where to get a pedometer in Munich? ...

Pedometers are currently available from McDonalds. Yes, McDonalds! All 34 branches in Munich. Buy the "Go Active Happy Meal" for €6.49 and you get a pedometer "for free". They're pretty crappy though, as you might expect. They have one button only, a count reset, and they look as cheap as they are. It's not known how long this offer will last.

If you can't face buying anything from McDonalds, even if just for the pedometer, you can try collecting the tokens on packets of Special K instead (the Kellogs breakfast cereal that is, not the ravers' drug ketamine). Collect a bunch of tokens and send them off to Kellogs together with €3. You'll receive your pedometer in the post a few days later.

Alternatively, there are quality pedometers available at SportScheck on Marienplatz (pictured above). They're priced €14 to €19 depending on the number of functions (daily diary, distance calculations, etc...). As with all pedometers, these gizmos have a little vibration detector inside them. They count 'one' everytime they sense the vibration of your foot striking the ground. Clip the gadget to your belt and off you go.

So, forget jogging, forget sweating it out in a gym, the path to fitness for the modern urban lifestyle is through walking! It's kinder to your knees than jogging, it's good for the posture, and anyone can do it. The average distance between two adjacent stops on the Munich U-Bahn is 1,330 paces (800m). Get off the train two stops early and walk the rest of the distance. Do that on your way to work and on the way back and you're half way there already.

10,000 steps is roughly 6 kilometers, or 90 minutes walking time. If you're looking to burn fat you need to walk continuously for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time.

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