Why baseline tracking?
Tracking apps have undoubtedly made tracking physical activity, sleeping hours, medication adherence and dietary information more convenient and more popular. But, individuals still hesitate to take ownership of their habits by facing them head-on through some simple baseline tracking. Baseline tracking is the tracking of information and data for ones present behaviors around exercise, diet, sleep, medication adherence and other health related lifestyle habits. As a result of simple baseline tracking one may notice the following benefits:
- Deepens understanding of sleeping patterns
- Improves sense of daily caloric intake and expenditure
- Helps fine-tune lifestyle habits for weight loss, gain or management
- Encourages nutrient dense food choices
- Aids in determination of food triggers
- Supports healthy choices through accountability and motivation
- Increases knowledge of daily hydration
- Enhances awareness of pre-existing and un-diagnosed health conditions
- And so much more!
Here’s how to begin taking ownership of YOUR present health related habits and enhance personal knowledge in order to take necessary steps for healthy change in your overall well-being.
Step 1: Choose your tracking platform
Download a tracking application such as myfitnesspal on a device that you will have readily available all of the time. Wellview Health Certified Personal Trainer Nathan Mikeska recommends the use of an app that continuously syncs activity information for you through a fitness watch that you wear each day like a fitbit, iwatch or garmin. “Fitness watches have made tracking for exercise, diet, sleep and other daily habits much more convenient for those who lead a busy lifestyle on the go, as the watch can do a lot of the tracking work for you,” says Mikeska. Otherwise, if you are comfortable tracking the finite details necessary for your tracking journey, simply grab a blank journal to keep notes in.
Step 2: Determine your tracking time-frame
When tracking for a chronic disease, the possibility of lifestyle related conditions, long term accountability, and so on you may want to commit to a time-frame of months or even years. However if you are merely trying to enhance your self awareness around your behaviors you may wish to track for a few days or weeks.
Step 3: Start tracking
Tracking can really be an accurate eye opener if you track EVERYTHING! In order to reach a greater understanding of your habits, you must fully commit to your time-frame and platform. When tracking exercise make sure you track duration, intensity, activity type, time of day, frequency and make notes of any abnormal sensations you notice during activity. When tracking meals and snacks make sure that you track anything with calories including solid foods, liquids, vitamins and other medication, time of meal, nutrition information and any complications that may arise during your day that could be related to diet. As for sleep, medication adherence and other health related lifestyle, you will want to include as much detail as possible day to day in order to paint an accurate picture.
Step 4: Analyze tracking
Tracking just like a data analysis can show you trends, patterns and normal dips and influxes in your health behaviors. Mikeska shares, “Noticing your normal behaviors can help you fine-tune or develop an action plan for change around your health and well-being.” Nevertheless, you should always seek out professional help for major lifestyle and health changes. Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey