There are countless measurements to track in terms of health and fitness. From calories to heart rate and everything in between, it can become overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it all.
So, here, we’re going over what to track (and what NOT to track) to improve your health.
What NOT to Track
Ah… the dreaded number on a scale. While for decades, tracking weight was touted as a way to measure your health, in reality, your body weight isn’t the most reliable metric to measure.
First of all, obsessing over your weight isn’t healthy. We all fluctuate in weight throughout the day and, especially for women, your time of the month can alter the number on a scale, even if you’re perfectly healthy.
Plus, it doesn’t account for the weight of muscle which is dense but also compact. So, while two people can weigh the same, one might be far healthier in terms of muscle mass compared to body fat. In short, there are better ways to track your health.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index and this is another measurement that’s recently gone out of style. By dividing your mass by your height, you’ll get your BMI and it’s at least better than tracking your bodyweight alone.
However, while it does account for your height, BMI doesn’t account for normal fluctuations in weight or body fat percentages. And, still, obsessing over your BMI is still largely a waste of time when there are other things to track that’ll serve you well.
Calorie counting is another popular method of improving your health. And while yes, counting calories can help you get a feel for whether you’re overeating or undereating, it’s not the best way to track health.
The first reason is that it’s difficult to correctly measure calories in the first place. Calorie trackers that you wear and even the calorie labels on food are generalizations and not always accurate.
Plus, not all calories are equal. And by that, we mean that if you eat 3000 calories of junk food, that doesn’t make you equally as healthy as someone who eats 3000 calories of whole nutrient-dense foods.
So, counting calories might be a good place to start to help you improve your diet and overall health, but long term, it’s unnecessary.
Track These Instead and Improve Your Health
When you track your heart rate, you’re tracking beats per minute (bpm). Monitoring both your resting and active heart rates can show you your cardio fitness level and is a reliable way to see where you can improve.
A normal resting heart rate for the average adult ranges from 60 to 100 bpm. In general, a lower resting heart rate is a strong indicator of optimal health since your heart is stronger and requires fewer beats to function properly.
You’ll also want to figure out your target heart rate zone (50-90% of your max) and your max heart rate zone, which could be somewhere between 150 and 200 bpm. Alternating between different heart rate zones is what HIIT workouts are all about.
Track your heart rate, see if you can work at your max effort, and measure how quickly your heart returns to its resting rate.
How You Feel
At the end of the day, the most important benefit of exercising and eating well is improving how you feel. So, if your fitness is helping you to feel more energized and confident, that’s a win.
Track how you feel by writing down your mood, energy levels, and overall state of wellbeing as you move through your health and fitness journey. You’ll start to understand patterns between what make you feel your best and what’s no longer serving you.
Tracking your workouts is another effective way to improve your health. While this too can get out of hand if you obsess too much over an extreme workout schedule, tracking your workouts, in general, can help you stay consistent and achieve your fitness goals.
You’ll be able to see how far you’ve come, and if you want to focus on a specific outcome like increasing strength or endurance, you can track your progress as you go.
Track your workouts using the OOMPH app and watch your health improve exponentially. Download it today!