Tracking Progress

If your goal is to improve your performance on a daily basis, you need some way of tracking your progress. Sport isn’t just about what you do; it’s also about measuring it. You might even need to carry out some statistical analysis.

Lots of research has been carried out to try to figure out the best way to measure physical activity ( Some of the questions are about what exactly you assess, such as calories burned, time taken, and frequency of exercise. Others are about how to record any measurements. Do you rely on people reporting on their own performance, or do you need objective observers?

Some people really enjoy the chance to get mathematical about their performance data. In recent years, a variety of smart devices have appeared that can count your number of steps, measure your heart rate and generally provide constant feedback on what you’re doing and whether you meet your goal. Some people use their phones, while others wear a special watch or a little box on a strap around their waist.

You can collect so much information about the physical activities you do and how your body changes in response. Then you need to know how to analyze it. What should your performance be, and are you falling short or exceeding expectations? You need to know how you’ve done in the past so you can see if you’re improving. You need to know what’s recommended for someone like you, which may mean comparisons to people of similar age, gender or body type. You must know where you hope to be in the future, so you can see if you’re heading in the right direction.

That’s why some people seek out professional advice from personal trainers and other experts. These are the people who know what works and what doesn’t and who have experience adapting exercise routines to account for individual differences. They can do the planning and the measuring so you can concentrate more on performing.

It’s also important to know when to take a break and how to avoid pushing your body so hard that you end up damaging something. That’s especially true if you have injuries or disabilities. That’s another area where a doctor or other professional can offer advice. Don’t get so distracted by the quest for improvement that you forget to take care of yourself today.

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