What are your personal goals, and how do you keep track of them?
Whether you're still clutching your New Year's resolution or you've decided to work on a whole new set of goals before summer's end, one of the most effective techniques for achieving your health targets is to track your progress along the way.
We look to 10 common health factors that can be easily logged online, via hand-written diary or some other effortless means. Just remember: Don't get discouraged if you eat too much, gain a pound or press snooze instead of going for a 5am run. The purpose of maintaining a daily log isn't to reach perfection. It's to help you keep striving toward a healthier you!
1. Calories: If you're trying to lose weight, a food log can do wonders for your waistline. There are a number of free online journals, like FitDay and ifoodDiary, to help keep your calories on a tight leash.
2. Stress: Zeel Fitness Expert Frank Baptiste encourages weight-loss clients to track their stress by asking this simple question: "Today, how high is my stress level, and how am I managing it?" Rate this on a scale of one to 10, and mark it on a calendar.
3. Distance: Training for a triathlon? Or maybe, you're just taking a jog around the blog. Either way, DailyMile.com records how far you've gone while offering support from fellow DailyMile community members.
4. Water Intake: Women over the age of 19 should drink about 9 cups of water daily; men require about 13. Keep a tally throughout the day, or sip from a water bottle that has hash marks to keep count.
5. Heart Rate: Exercise at your target heart rate to boost endurance, weight loss and your cardiovascular health. It's easily done using an ear piece that measures your heart rate and transmits the data to your phone.
6. Sleep: Sleep is important for so many reasons: weight loss, stress levels and hormonal changes are just a few. Try using a sleep monitor and alarm to regulate your sleep patterns. The watch tracks your REM patterns and wakes you at the optimal time.
7. Cholesterol: High cholesterol, a main cause of heart disease, affects millions of Americans. iCholesterol keeps track of your total cholesterol as well as LDL "bad" cholesterol levels, HDL "good" cholesterol levels and your triglycerides.
8. Weight: Hold yourself accountable for pounds both lost and gained by using a digital scale. Many now send the grand total to your computer each time you weigh yourself.
9. Steps: You're supposed to take at least 10,000 steps a day, but how do you know when you've reached your target? Use a pedometer to count the number of steps you take, and adjust your habits from there.
10. Blood Pressure: Manage your blood pressure to help decrease your risk of serious health conditions like heart failure and stroke. The BPlog app monitors hypertension with a user-friendly website that records your readings.