When you are trying to lose weight, you often end up reading a lot about that topic. Time and time again, you will come across articles touting the importance of keeping a journal of the foods you eat. It is an eye-opening experience, as those of you who routinely track your food intake can attest.
I’m here to tell you the same is also true of keeping a fitness journal, although you don’t hear about it as often as the benefits of tracking your food intake.
I recently spent a good deal of time beating myself up, feeling like I was a slacker for the month of September when it came to exercise. I was barely running any more, due to a slump and some medical issues and just general lack of mojo. Somewhere along the way, I decided I would just start to try to walk on a regular basis as my form of exercise, but all the while in my mind I kept thinking “hey slacker, when are you getting back to running?! In my mind my walks were just not carrying the “importance” of a workout to me, although the walks were taking place in a fairly consistent fashion. I also decided to walk more due to the fact that I’m trying to encourage my husband to get more exercise into his life, and since he is not a runner and since we like to spend time together, this often times might mean me “giving up” one of my runs in place of a walk with him. And I am OK with that. I know in my head, any exercise is good – walk, run, whatever! Yet there was still a part of me that kept thinking “no running = slacker.”
That mindset all changed due to tracking my exercise. You see, for every walk I went on, I would set my RunKeeper app (which can also be used for walking, cycling, hiking, rowing.. you name it). The app tracks your miles and other stats. Using the info from my RunKeeper app, I spent time on the last day of September entering all my miles into DailyMile. There it was right in front of me, my total number of miles for September: 46. It was the most miles I have had on DailyMile since June. The data showed me too that I walked the majority of the month, and at one point, even seven days in a row. I stopped beating myself up.
There are many ways to keep track of your exercise. A notebook from the dollar store will do. Apps on the phone will do. An old-school calendar from your local mechanic will also suffice. That is what I used when I was training for my first half marathon last spring and looking at those pages continues to inspire me. It really doesn’t matter what you use. What matters is that you have something to look back on.
You may think you are not doing all that much, but if you taking a minute to jot it down, somewhere, anywhere, you might just end up surprising yourself.
How about you? Do you track your exercise? What method do you use and how do you feel it helps you on your health and fitness journey? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.