It’s important to take charge of your health, but it can become daunting when you don’t know where to start. Your fitness journey becomes harmonized when you reach a balance of physical, mental, and social well-being. In this article, we will focus on possible health journeys you can embark on. We will also discuss the importance of tracking and keeping a fitness journal. In addition, we will cover topics like muscle strength grading and other key physical aspects you can develop.
Change can be difficult, especially when you are starting a fitness journey. There are five stages of change that everyone experiences, which include precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. In the precontemplation phase, people do not intend to take action, but rather in the contemplation phase individuals will begin to think to change aspects of their life. This is where people tend to get stuck in their health journey, as the thought of executing a lifestyle change can be overwhelming.
A great way to get over humps is through fitness and activity tracking. Implementing this into your lifestyle can allow for better dedication and motivation towards your goals. This allows you to move into the next stages of change, which are preparation and action. These stages will motivate you to take charge of your fitness goals and work hard towards the lifestyle that you want. Tracking your activity levels will help you see the progress you have made throughout your journey and help keep you focused. It is a known fact that people are more inclined to continue with something when they are able to see positive change.
What is a fitness journey?
Generally, most people believe that a fitness journey equates to weight loss. However, that is far from the truth, and your fitness journey will most definitely look different than the next person’s. Everyone has different goals they have set for themselves, so it isn’t beneficial to compare your journey to another’s. Let’s briefly discuss the types of fitness journeys that you can embark and track.
A weight loss journey is the most common fitness journey and the one that we see all over social media. Weight loss is the decrease of your overall body weight from muscle, water and fat loss. Although weight loss encompasses all of these aspects, the healthiest form of weight loss refers to fat loss. It can be hard to determine whether you are losing weight from fat or muscle, which is why it is important to track your progress. Tracking body fat scale measurements can be beneficial in ensuring healthy progress.
Tracking activity levels are especially beneficial to those who are trying to lose weight as it gives an accurate reading of calories burned within a day. Many of us set fitness goals at the beginning of the year in the hopes of maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes that includes losing weight. Tracking your fitness is a vital aspect of losing weight as it helps keep track of workout and progress in achieving these goals. Having an app to track your fitness allows you to be more accountable of your goals. Setting reminders and notifications will help you stay motivated and reinforce including fitness into your lifestyle.
Focusing on fat loss is very important when taking on a weight loss journey. This is emphasized because there are some programs that offer quick solutions but can actually be detrimental to your health. These programs focus on muscle loss as well, which is an unhealthy form of weight loss. Interestingly, losing too much muscle mass can actually decrease the number of calories you can burn at rest. This is why it is easier to gain the weight you have lost when people go on fad diets (R).
Tracking macronutrients in your daily food intake will also be beneficial if your fitness journey is to lose weight. There are three types of macronutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You can refer to our article on weight loss specifically to gain more insight on calculating your appropriate macronutrient breakdown.
A weight gain program is a health journey that individuals embark on when they are underweight. While some may believe that being lean is a healthy fitness goal, it can be dangerous if it is reflected by poor nutrition. Those who are underweight, after the consultation of a physician or dietitian, will create a plan based around consuming nutritious and calorie dense foods. This will allow them to reach a healthy fat to muscle ratio for their body. Furthermore, exercise is an important factor in this journey as well. Strength training can benefit with muscle mass growth, as well as appetite stimulation.
Strength & Endurance
This aspect of a fitness journey is a specific goal that someone may want to work on for their physique. Strength and endurance training will benefit muscular growth. Muscular strength and endurance are very important qualities within the body that allows you to do daily activities like move and lift objects. Strength is the amount of weight you can lift, while endurance is the duration of time you can move a weight without getting tired.
Muscular strength grading is a great tool to track the progress of your muscle focused fitness journey. It is measured through a unit called One Rep Max (1RM). A 1RM is the maximum amount of weight a specific muscle can move for one full repetition. An example would be performing a bicep curl with an amount of weight that you are able to move for a single contraction. This method will allow you to track your gradual strength increase, as you will be able to see your increase in weightlifting throughout the course of your journey.
Why is exercise important?
Now, let’s focus on why physical activity is a vital aspect of your health journey. Not only will exercise help you reach your weight loss goals, but it will also reduce your risk of developing some diseases.
Exercising regularly will help reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. This may sound very broad, but more specifically exercise can help reduce your risk of heart attack, lower blood cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, promote bone strength, and recover better from illness.
Not only can exercise promote biological health, but it can help with your mental health as well. Research has shown that exercise can cause physiological changes that result in an improvement in mood state, self-esteem and lower stress and anxiety levels (R). These changes are possible because exercise induces the release of endorphins, which provides a rush of a “feel good” feeling.
Physical activity is an umbrella term that is used to classify all the types of exercise and activity. Many focus on one type of activity and feel it is enough. However, to achieve physiological balance we need to make sure that we are doing all types of exercises. When planning physical activity, you need to make sure that you incorporate endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. By having all of these aspects of exercise incorporated into your fitness journey will allow you to become stronger and reach the goals you want.
Endurance activities include aerobic exercise, which is any type of cardiovascular conditioning. These types of exercises will increase your heart rate and breathing. Aerobic exercises allow for improved blood flow throughout the body, keeping your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy. Furthermore, it can reduce your risk of contracting diseases that are common within the older population like diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and heart disease.
You may know endurance training as “cardio”, but there is so much more to it than just that. Some forms of exercise that can build your endurance include brisk walking or jogging, yard work, dancing, swimming, biking, climbing stairs, playing basketball, jump rope and much more.
Musculoskeletal fitness involves increasing the muscle strength, muscle endurance, and muscle power to enable performance of work against one’s body weight or an external resistance (R). This fitness has proven to be very beneficial in improving lower-back health. In addition, it has extended beyond it to also improve personal independence and quality of life for older adults and the elderly. It may not be a main focus of your daily workout plan but by tracking it you will be easily reminded to incorporate it in the future.
This type of training consists of physical conditioning in which muscles are exercised by being worked against an opposing force to increase strength. Muscular strength training can make an impactful difference, as it helps with your overall power and strength abilities. Some benefits that can arise from regular strength training include:
- Increased muscles mass: Muscles mass naturally decreases with age, but with the addition of strength training this process can be stalled or reverse by increasing muscle mass.
- Stronger bones: Strength training also increases bone density which will help in older age, as it can reduce the risk of fractures.
- Joint flexibility: it can also promote flexibility within joints which is beneficial for injury prevention reduce symptoms of arthritis.
- Weight control: A myth that many people believe is that strength training will make you gain weight. As you gain muscle, your body will burn calories easily and allow easier control of your weight.
- Balance: Strength training also increases flexibility and balance, which as stated previously, can help with old age and decrease the risk of falling.
Exercises that help with balance include tai chi, standing on one foot, the heel-to-toe walk, balance walk, yoga, and much more. Not only will training on balance improve your physique and build a stronger core, but it can help with balance as you age and prevent falling injuries from occurring.
Flexibility is an important aspect of your fitness journey. When you are constantly active the body needs time to rest and recover, and the best way to improve this is through stretching. Stretching helps improve flexibility, making it easier for you to do daily activities. Some flexibility exercises include back stretch, inner thigh stretch, ankle stretch, and hamstring stretch. It does not matter what age you are, stretching and flexibility is very important!
How to Track Your Fitness Journey
With automation and as a society we have reduced the number of jobs requiring substantial amounts of physical activity. The level of fitness and physical activity has further decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an increasing need to see if you are moving enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Tracking your fitness journey is so helpful because not only will you be able to track your progress, but it will become a mode of motivation for you as you will be able to see how close you are to achieving your goals. It can also turn out to be a system that keeps you accountable. This in combination with a friend or family support group could be advantageous and help you achieve your fitness goals.
Keeping a tracking app can help as it plans out your days and keeps you on track. It can also help you switch up your routine, instead of doing the same thing every day. This is a better system as if you were to train and do the same thing every day, your body will not be challenged and reach a plateau, making it harder for you to attain your goals.
You can also test your progress, as mentioned above, through muscle strength grading. Logging and keeping track of the progress in strength that your body has achieved will allow you to see where more work is needed and how to change your plan throughout the course of your journey.
Another very important thing to keep track of while on a fitness journey is your sleep! Yes, nutrition and exercise are very important, but without proper recovery results cannot be sustained. Poor sleep causes your body to increase its inflammation levels, which can contribute to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Thus, it is necessary to keep track of your sleep, the quality, and the duration of it. Tracking this information will accuse you to be more aware of your sleep schedule and hygiene and make any necessary changes to help benefit your daily routine and goals.
Health Tracking App
CareClinic allows you to track your fitness activity and maintain any of the goals you have set for yourself. CareClinic is designed to check-in on your overall health through various functionalities including Activity, Nutrition, and Sleep schedules. Tracking your health all on one app will be beneficial for
CareClinic allows you to input your daily workouts. You can easily search for the activities you completed in your workout plan. You can use the “Exercise Library,” to easily select the workouts you did. The app allows you to go in depth and add any notes on your workouts. Adding notes can be a great way to track how you felt doing the workout. This will also keep track and show how you have progressed throughout your fitness journey. You will also be able to input how many sets and reps you did for the workout chosen.
The activity section is not limited to workouts, you can even add in sports and the effort you put in. For example, if you went swimming, you could input the style of swimming. In addition, you can add the speed and style at which you swam. This will be a great journaling method to keep track of your fitness journey. Journaling will allow you to see how you have improved your muscle strength grade. It will also give you an idea of how long you spent growing each grade.
Another important aspect of fitness journey’s is Nutrition, this can also be easily tracked on the CareClinic app. You can easily select from the search bar and include the quantity eaten. This will give you insights on your eating habits. However, it will also allow you to see if you are following national nutritional guides. You might begin to see that you are missing entire good groups like dairy. Maintaining a healthy balance within each of the food groups is crucial and will affect your fitness goals.
If losing weight is your fitness goal, the Nutrition tab on CareClinic allows you to input this data as well. In addition, unlike other apps you can pre plan your meals and tap them as consumed throughout your day. You can also easily input details regarding the macronutrient details of your meals. Macronutrient breakdowns of food you are eating is important in fitness journeys.
A fitness journey doesn’t have to be hard when you have one place to input your all of your data. CareClinic can help you achieve any of your health journey goals. You can get insights on your activity levels, nutrition intake. As well as use it as a diary to journal your overall journey. Refer to our article on Samsung Health vs CareClinic to get more details on why CareClinic might be the choice for you.