I have always wondered how far I traveled on a given day and what I would need to do to lose some weight. Since I have been trying to lose weight over the last few years pedometers have been talked about more often than not. For those that don’t know what a pedometer is, it is a small device to track how many steps you take in a day. A lot of weight loss companies encourage people to purchase these so people can see how many steps they take and then shoot for an increased number of steps per day to help them reach their weight loss goal.
That’s all fine and dandy for them, but that doesn’t help me or any other wheelers part of your programs. When I was with Weight Watchers
they offered an activity monitor, but they didn’t think it would track my wheeling. Wheeling with your arms is just as much, if not more of an activity as walking. No one had any suggestions. It can be frustrating when you are paying for these programs and it’s not adapted to everyone. At least Weight Watchers provided a wheelchair scale.
I always thought a bicycle odometer would work, but wasn't sure if it would. I purchased a wireless odometer from Amazon
and it was fairly easy to install. I did it while I was in my chair with some help from my dad. It would probably be easier to install if you got out of your chair and took one wheel off. I used all, but one part and we threaded it through a couple of the extra holes on my chair. If by chance I need to adjust my chair in the future and need those holes, the sensor is attached by small zip ties. Pretty simple and easy to find if needed replacing. The part I didn’t use was a small piece of rubber that connected to the sensor, I am assuming so it doesn’t scratch any paint or to hold it in place better. My sensor isn’t moving so I think we are good to go.
Side Tip: I believe wheelchair tubing is wider than bicycle tubing as I have run into this problem when using bicycle water bottle holders for my wheelchair. The grips for bicycle water bottle holders aren’t wide enough for a wheelchair, but a couple of zip ties and a cheap bicycle water bottle holder works wonders! And have you seen what they charge for a wheelchair water bottle holder? Save some money and zip tie one on, especially in these hot summer months!
I did have some trouble getting the sensor to connect to the watch. Everything was working fine and then I fiddled with it and then nothing. In the instructions it says that the sensor and the magnet cannot exceed 5 MM (that’s MM, not CM) and they weren’t joking. Since it wasn’t connecting I went to the Internet and tried to troubleshoot the problem. The biggest tip I can give you is to wiggle the magnet around until you get signal on your watch. I also moved it closer than 5 MM and that seemed to help a lot.
And does a bike odometer work with a wheelchair? Yes, it does! I haven’t really set a goal of how far I want to go in a given day. Right now just tracking how far I go on a day to day basis. Once I get an estimate on how far I go then I will add to it. I think I will shoot for a goal of an extra mile a day to start off with. They say there are 2000 steps in one mile (give or take) and to lose weight they encourage about 10,000 steps. The last thing I want to do is wear out my shoulders and five miles a day would be a lot at first so I think an extra mile a day is a good starting point. I can always build from there.
If you are looking for some encouragement on moving more in your chair and are a visual person like me, then an odometer is something you just might want to check out. I would suggest getting a wireless one as it’s so simple to install on your chair. I don’t know how an odometer with wires would work with a wheelchair since a bicycle is taller. You don’t want a tangled mess in your wheels. A wireless one will cost a little more, but much simpler to install.
Weight gain can be a problem especially when you are sitting all the time so if a little watch can help me move more then I already do I am all for that.
Do any of you have any tips or gadgets that you have added to your wheelchair that was made for the able bodied world? I would love to hear about them!
© 2013 Kristina Allen