Featured Article: Mark Progress with a Fitness Journal
By Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Competitive athletes always keep exercise diaries, and I encourage all my patients to do the same. When you record your progress in your journal, you have a written record that is a positive reminder of the healthy changes you are making in your life. An exercise diary is a great way to:
- Make yourself accountable for each day.
- See changes and real improvements on paper.
- Help your mind focus on the goal at hand each and every day.
- See how changes were made so that you can maintain your progress (and even review what to do if you get off track).
- If you suffer an injury, you can go back to your diary and see if you can figure out what caused the problem.
- Share your success and strategies with others who need help.
You can use a calendar with large date boxes, a pocket appointment diary, or any plain notebook. If you’re a high-tech person, use your PDA, Palm Pilot or computer. Many programs are available for fitness buffs, or you can set up your own. When you are starting a new exercise program, jot down the length of time you exercised and your distance. You may want to add comments for yourself (how hard you worked, whether you had any discomfort, and so forth.) Later you will want to record more detailed information.
Keeping a diary should NOT make you feel that you must exercise a certain amount or go a certain distance every day. Don’t be afraid to take days off if you need them. Listen to your body and rest or go very easy whenever you are sore. If you find that you need to take a lot of days off, you might want to add a second activity that uses a totally different set of muscles.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com
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