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Track physical activity

Why it is important to track your physical activity

One of the key components of starting and maintaining a regular physical activity routine is to record and track your physical activity. This helps you to avoid overestimating or under-estimating your physical activity. Recording the accurate amount of physical activity over time helps you to understand if your physical activity routine is contributing to the progress you are making in achieving your fitness goals. This will in turn help you to identify what is working well and what is not working well. This will help you to make decisions to overcome challenges that you are encountering. It also keeps you motivated to stay physically active to keep achieving your goal. At some point, you may make decisions to increase your physical activity to fast-track achieving your health goals. 

What you track

You need to track your physical activity and progress made in your health goals.

Tracking physical activity

The important aspects of your physical activity that you need to track are:

  • Type of physical activity:  You need to combine cardio/aerobic physical activities with strength/endurance training to achieve your health goals. You need to record when you are engaging in each of these types of physical activity. For example, you need to record when you are engaging in an early morning brisk walk or evening weight training.
  • Time of physical activity: Next, record the time you took to complete the physical activity.
  • Repetitions: You also need to record the number of times you completed a strength training or aerobic exercise. For example, the number of times you did a squat or lifted a given weight. Sometimes, you may be walking around a track or other routes. It is important to record how many times you walked around the track or route. This may help you calculate the distance you covered during the walk.

Tracking progress made with health goals.

The whole essence of physical activity is to achieve health goals and maintain good health outcomes such as a healthy weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol etc. Hence, it is important to record and track the progress you are making toward achieving these health goals along with your physical activity routine.

If you observe that your physical activity routine is not yielding the desired results in your health goals, you may need to discuss the situation with your doctor and health coach to find out if you have any conditions that may deter the benefits of physical activity, or if your eating or sleeping habit is not helping you to reap the full benefits of your physical activity routine or if your physical activity routine is not adequate for the health goals that you have set. This helps you to make decisions to improve your physical activity routine to a level that will help you meet these health goals, make changes to your eating and sleeping habits, and also address other health conditions that are deterring your progress.

Tracking your menstrual cycle

If you are still having menstrual periods, your menstrual cycle may influence your physical activity routine as well as your health goals. This makes it imperative to track your menstrual cycle along with your physical activity and health goals. In this way, it makes it easy for you to understand if your menstrual cycle is influencing your efforts and progress toward your health goals. This helps you to make decisions to improve your mood and stay motivated to work out and stay on track with your physical activity routine.

SOURCES

  1. Ferguson, T., Olds, T., Curtis, R., Blake, H., Crozier, A. J., Dankiw, K., Dumuid, D., Kasai, D., O’Connor, E., Virgara, R., & Maher, C. (2022). Effectiveness of wearable activity trackers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The Lancet. Digital health4(8), e615–e626. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00111-X
  2. Tang, M. S. S., Moore, K., McGavigan, A., Clark, R. A., & Ganesan, A. N. (2020). Effectiveness of Wearable Trackers on Physical Activity in Healthy Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. JMIR mHealth and uHealth8(7), e15576. https://doi.org/10.2196/15576
  3. Lin, G., Siddiqui, R., Lin, Z., Blodgett, J. M., Patel, S. N., Truong, K. N., & Mariakakis, A. (2023). Blood glucose variance measured by continuous glucose monitors across the menstrual cycle. NPJ digital medicine, 6(1), 140. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-023-00884-x

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