Monitoring Your Activity Behaviour
Monitoring your activity behaviour is a key component to becoming more active for many reasons. Some find it motivates them to try and be better than last time, for some its a milestone, such as burning off a certain amount of calories to have a nice piece of cake. Put more simply, if we don’t monitor our behaviour, how do we know if we’ve changed?
Activity behaviour can be measured in many ways and doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Of course, you can buy a GPS watch that measures heart rate, tracks your movements, monitors your sleep and makes your breakfast, but in reality, it can be much simpler than that.
Below you will find some top tips on how to effectively monitor your behaviour, helping you take that first step to getting more active!
Keeping a Diary or Activity Log
Printable Diaries and Logs
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to record your activity behaviour is to keep a diary or a log. Keeping a log of your physical activity is extremely beneficial, as it allows you to monitor your progress, set goals and increases your motivation to exercise. Keeping a log also increases your confidence and motivation over a longer period over time, as you’ll be able to physically see results where you’ve burst through plateaus or met exercise targets than you never thought were possible! These feats in your exercise journey will fill you with a sense of pride and remind you just how capable you indeed are. More importantly, it will give you that jolt of fire in your belly to get back at it if you lose motivation!
Below you will find some activity planners and logs that you can print and use to log your activity. There is also an interactive planner by Move Your Way which can be printed or used online, where you can add activities and goals.
Basic Physical Activity Log
Basic Physical Activity Log by Moving Medicine with each day of the week and an activity box.
Weekly Physical Activity Diary
Weekly Physical Activity Diary with day, time, activity and duration boxes to log physical activity.
Detailed Physical Activity log
Detailed Physical Activity log with weekly goal setting and detailed logging boxes, such as daily steps.
Use this planner to set goals, choose activities you want to do, and get tips to help you stay motivated. When you’re done, print your plan to track activity throughout the week.
Activity tracker Apps
If you prefer not to manually write and print your planners, there are also plenty of other online diary and logs you can download as apps. These are a great alternative as you can access the information from your phone whenever or wherever you are. Below are links to some top rated apps, to help you track your physical activity behaviour.
Google Fit Tracker
Google fit allows you to track workouts, set goals, and log achievements in the apps journal.
Habit tracker tracks and analyses your habits, showing them clearly in a chart format. Habit tracker also allows you to build habits with friends and family by reminding and encouraging each other.
Map My Fitness
Track your gym workouts with ease! Log your progress over time by logging loads, sets and reps. Build your personalised workout routine from over 800+ exercises.
The current market for smart devices is vast, whether that’s watch, specific wearable technology for movement or simply your smart phone. All of these have technology which can track your movements, measure your movements and in some cases, detect for more, such as heart rate, sleep quality and even be an electrocardiogram, which is normally reserved for specialists in hospitals! Where these devices shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to the more traditional equipment in health investigations, they can help understand your movement and body functions at any given point in time to act as a marker to measure your movements and biological factors.
Smart watches are becoming more and more popular and whilst they are a watch, they often hold the ability to do much more. However, these can be expensive and not an option for many people. There are many brands out there making a wide range of watches that link in with apps and websites to better demonstrate your movements and potentially other information about you. Most notable versions are Garmins, FitBits and Apple watches.
Away from watches, another way to monitor your movement, if that’s your goal, is to use your mobile phone. There are many apps, some already existing in your phone, that can track your movement and store it for you without you even knowing. One app that you can use is the Active 10 app, which measures when you’ve been out walking and records it. There is also plenty of pedometer apps, which track your daily steps to help you meet your activity goals.
If you are looking to do something a bit more active, there are many tools nowadays to monitor your progress. Running and cycling apps are all over the place, such as market leaders like Strava and Map My Run. These use GPS on phones or watches to monitor your exercise and record it to a platform where it is stored. The more expensive your watch, the more in depth and accurate information you tend to get. If you are looking to get into running for the first time, there is also the Couch 2 5k app, which helps you build up to running 5km in nine weeks and monitors it on your phone.
Steps App Pedometer
StepsApp turns your phone into a simple Step counter, giving you a quick overview of your daily steps, distance, time, floors climbed and active calories.
Map my Walk
Track and map every walk with Mapmywalk. For every mile you go, you'll get feedback and stats to help you improve your performance.
Track your fitness activity with Strava. Record your run, map a cycling group and analyse all your activity stats for free!
Map My Run
Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned runner, you'll find the features and tools needed to stay on track and motivated to hit your goals with Map my run.
NHS – Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit. NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks.
NHS Active 10
The Active 10 app records every minute of walking you do (anonymously). Just pop your phone in your pocket and away you go! The app tracks your steps, helps you set goals, shows you your achievements and gives you tips to boost your activity. Did you know walking briskly, even for 1 minute, counts as exercise? What are you waiting for - take your first steps today!