Top health tracking tips to keep you motivated and feeling great

With warmer weather just around the corner, you might be feeling like you’re ready for a health and fitness boost.

And, as you get older, it’s even more important to exercise and stay on top of your health biomarkers to stop preventable issues from slipping through the cracks.

But, sometimes you might need a little extra encouragement to get in shape…

In this article, we’ve looked at a few ways you can track your health, so you can stay motivated and feel great for summer, and all year long.

Top health tracking tips to keep you motivated and feeling great all year long #health #wellness Click To Tweet

1. Track your steps or activity levels

While you probably know that you need to move more every day, how much exercise is enough?

Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults (aged between 18-64) get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, across five sessions. This generally equates to between 7,500 and 10,000 steps per day.

Moving more not only helps you get in shape but it also significantly reduces your risk of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Modern fitness trackers – electronic devices you wear on your wrist like a FitBit or Garmin – can help you track your steps and overall physical activity. They’re usually linked to a smartphone app that allows you to record your progress over time.

Although people can be active without fitness tracking, wearing a tracker means you can find out how much physical activity you do, and set goals and milestones for each day, week or month. Some trackers will even remind you to get up if you’ve been sitting too long.

This means tracking yourself can help motivate you to be more active. In fact, research published in BMC Public Health last year found people who wore a fitness tracker reported that their level of physical activity improved. And, the study’s participants particularly liked the real-time feedback their wearable devices provided.

Wear a fitness tracker to find out how much physical activity you do and set yourself goals and milestones #health #wellness Click To Tweet

2. Track your heart rate

Tracking your heart rate might seem excessive to some, but it can tell you how well your body is working and whether you need to increase (or decrease) the intensity of your workouts.

It can also help you understand if your everyday activities like housework actually count as exercise, or if stress management techniques – like deep breathing – are having an effect on your body by lowering your heart rate.

And, if you’ve started an exercise program, a decrease in your resting heart rate can be an indication that your fitness is improving.

Most advanced fitness trackers have an inbuilt heart rate monitor. As a guide, the normal range for resting heart rate (for an adult) is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Health tracking should include tracking your heart rate

Tracking your heart rate can tell you how well your body is working + if you need to increase the intensity of your workouts #health #wellness Click To Tweet

3. Track your diet

While we’re all aware of the need for regular exercise, there’s no getting away from the importance of diet on our overall health and wellbeing.

If you’re looking to lose weight or to stay within a healthy weight range, you might find it useful to track and record your daily food intake either in a food diary or with a mobile app.

“Using an app to support weight loss can be helpful for people who want to get a better idea of the amount of food and kilojoules they are eating each day,” according to researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins centre who conducted a world first study of the best apps for weight loss.

In looking at a good weight loss app, dietary researchers recommend selecting one that:

  • has been developed with input from health professionals
  • includes motivational components that encourage changes in behaviour
  • complies with the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • is easy to use and log your food
  • has an Australian database of foods.

The University of Sydney research listed the top 11 weight loss apps (as at February 2016) based on their accuracy, scientific basis and their ability to change behaviour.  

4. Track your measurements

Any changes to your diet – through either daily tracking or the introduction of simple, healthy food choices – should also be reflected in your waist line.

Keeping an eye on your waist measurements may be more important than you think when it comes to looking after your health.

Your waistline is a key indicator for some health problems because it’s a marker of your abdominal fat.

Abdominal fat is associated with significant health risks like heart disease and stroke much more so than the weight on your hips and thighs because it can indicate the level of internal fat deposits coating the heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs and pancreas.

According to the Heart Foundation, your health is at risk if your waist size is greater than 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women. They also have some tips for how to take your waist measurement.

It’s useful to consider your waist measurement alongside your body mass index, or BMI to check whether you’re in a healthy weight range for your height.

Your waistline is a key indicator for some health problems because it’s a marker of your abdominal fat #health #wellness Click To Tweet

5. Track your blood sugar levels

Even if you think you’re living a healthy lifestyle, checking your average blood sugar levels or glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is something you shouldn’t ignore.

This is because many people can be developing diabetes or living with a condition called pre-diabetes for several years without realising.

Although it has no obvious symptoms, it can have a huge impact on your health. And, without intervention, it can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Knowing your HbA1c (average blood glucose) levels puts you in the driver’s seat to take back control, because with some simple lifestyle changes about 60% of pre-diabetes cases can be reversed.

The good news is, you can order an HbA1c blood test online that you take in the convenience of home.

The MyHealthTest service involves putting a couple of drops of blood on a special collection card (just like a fingerprick test) and posting it back to our Canberra laboratory.

In a few days, we’ll give you the results through our secure website. You can then share the results with your doctor as you choose.

Our service also allows you to track your results over time. This means you can see if the lifestyle changes you make are having an effect, which will help keep you motivated to continue.

Track you hba1c levels

Knowing your average blood glucose levels (HbA1c) puts you in the driver’s seat to take back control #health #wellness Click To Tweet

Over to you. Are you keeping track of your health? Tell us in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

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