I am often asked for advice about staying motivated, seeing results, sticking to a schedule and my advice usually involves “write it down”. Writing in a journal is an exercise carried on through centuries. Jotting down thoughts or recording daily tidbits in a journal has always held a fascination and accountability. This exercise in recording has many benefits not only for an individual’s intellectual well being, but for their physical well being as well if you do it to record your exercise program. Regular exercising, running, and working out in a gym can do wonders for one’s health, body and self image. However, majority of us struggle to stick to our exercise programs. Journal keeping about our workout helps us in a number of ways.
An exercise journal or log keeps track of the exercise done during a day, week, month or even year. A typical log will record date, type of exercise, time and/or distance, exercise intensity (easy, medium or hard) and workout notes. While there are many exercise journals available for download and printing on-line, a simple notebook can serve the purpose just as well. You can simply log what you did, how long you did and how you felt afterwards. This is a great way to keep track of mileage. If you want to see how many miles you run in a month, this is a great easy option.
Always keep the journal in a place that is easy for you to access and use it often. It can be kept in your gym bag if you workout in a gym so that the exercise done there can be recorded immediately. The most important thing about keeping a log is to be diligent about updating it. Don’t think, “oh I will write it down later”, because chances are you will forget. Fill in the details, compare from previous logs, and tally up those miles.
The reason a person is encouraged to keep a log of his exercise is because it helps you keep a log of how much you exercised in a week especially if you’re working on gradually increasing the intensity of your workout. For example, if you are using run/walk/run to build your running stamina, keep a log of how long you ran vs. walked. It lets you compare your exercise routine week by week and even by day. It gives you a better idea of how well your exercise is affecting your body or if it is helping you achieve the goals you want. The log serves as a reminder that you are taking small steps towards your goals and that your methods are working.
An exercise log can keep you motivated to stick to your exercise routine. Regular comparisons let you see the progress you’ve made and give you an idea of when you’ll be able to achieve your ultimate health goal that you’re pursuing. You will be more motivated to stick to your routine if you can go back in your log and see how much weight you’ve lost or how many minutes you shaved off from your five mile morning run.
We all need someone or something to help us stay accountable. Keeping an exercise journal can help us do this. If you write out your calendar ahead of time about when and how much you are running you are less likely to skip a day.
Following the same exercise routine can get monotonous and boring. Keep changing your workout routine every once in a while to keep you interested. Try different exercises, activities, or running routes. If you’re cycling, try running. If you’re bench pressing, try dumbbells. If you can’t think of any change, get a workout app to bring the element of newness to your routine.
Research has shown that keeping an exercise log has many benefits. You keep feeling good about your body because the proof that you’re doing well can be seen in your logs. As a result, self esteem is boosted too. After you’re done filling an exercise log, the feeling of accomplishment is hard to beat. Keeping an exercise journal is beneficial to both, the mind and the body of a person.
Remember that it doesn’t have a to be a notebook, you can keep it all on the calendar. Write down your mileage or workout on a calendar so you can see it all over the course of the month. I often use my day planner for this. I hope these tips help!
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