05 Oct 4 Simple Ways to Track Your Health
Even the best intentions sometimes come up short. Give yourself better a chance with some easy to use tools and tips to track your health.
I’ve seen and worked with so many people who set out to change their habits with the goal of adopting a healthier lifestyle. When I ask them how they’re thinking of measuring their changes, often the answers are quite vague, or completely nonexistent…
Whilst you can get by and bring about healthy changes without measuring anything, from my experience it’s much more difficult to make any tangible progress.
Here are four of my favourite tracking methods – from the downright simple, to the geeky propeller hat stuff.
1. A Health Diary
One of the easiest and most effective tracking devices, and it’ll only set you back a few dollars.
A diary is a great place to start, and can help you get more in touch with your body. In it you could record everything from your workout performance to your current mood.
With a few exceptions, how you feel is often a pretty good indicator of your current state of health…
2. Body Composition
If your goal is to lose some unwanted weight or improve your body composition, then tracking those changes over time can be really useful.
Even better than just a weight or BMI measurement, you could even play around with skin fold calipers to determine your body fat percentage, or measure your hip to waist ratio.
Both are regarded as more reliable indicators of overall wellness than the traditional methods.
3. Heart Rate Variability
Now we start to get a little more geeky…
You’ve no doubt heard about the heart rate – the number of times your heart beats in a minute.
Your heart rate variability (or HRV) is a measure of the variation in the time interval between heartbeats.
Why is it so useful?
Usually standardized to a score out of 100, in general terms the higher your HRV, the more robust your nervous system is, and the better prepared you are to deal with stress.
There are plenty of free apps out there that allow you to measure and track your HRV. Just a few minutes each morning can give you a pretty good indication as to how your health and your stress levels are changing over time.
You can also use your morning measurement to determine how hard to push yourself in the day ahead, be it in your workout or workday.
A neat little tool.
4. Tracking your blood metrics
Now we’re in at the deep end – blood metric measurements and tracking.
An increasing number of companies such as WellnessFX and Personal Labs are offering online blood testing services.
It’s pretty simple. You order the test (anything from hormone levels to cardiac health tests) they send you the kit, you take your blood and send it off to them. They then analyse your blood, and you can track everything on a nice user friendly dashboard right in front of your eyes.
Used correctly, it’s empowering. Over time you’re able to see how your daily habits have a quantifiable effect on your overall health. And if you know you’re stuff, you can make changes accordingly. Failing that, you can always hire someone else to interpret the data for you and provide advice.
I really believe that these sorts of services are the future of healthcare. It’s a case of being proactive and taking charge of your own health, as opposed to waiting until something breaks and then asking someone else to fix it…
What are your favourite ways to measure and track your health?
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