Why You Should Track Your Health
Today marks the start of National Health Education Week, an annual celebration that aims to shed light on the role education has in improving the health of each and every one of us.
Health Education Promotes Healthier Behavior
What exactly is health education, you’re wondering? Health education promotes health, wellness, and disease prevention through voluntary behavioral changes – such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in daily physical activity, managing stress effectively, and establishing healthy sleep habits. By focusing on prevention and behavior changes, it dramatically cuts down on the time and money spent on medical treatment, and creates healthier individuals and communities.
According to the CDC, half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States; and the average American engages in “unhealthy behaviors that put them at high risk for heart disease and cancer,” said Dr. Spring, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement.
With all the health advice available to us these days, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. And, even if we’re making these changes, how will we know whether they’re working?
Tracking Healthy Habits
Luckily, we live in an era where tracking behavior and measuring results is easy. Modern health technology allows us to easily set specific yet attainable goals. Want to clean up your diet? There are apps that allow you make sure you’re eating at least 10 servings of vegetables, or drinking at least 64 oz of water each day. Need to get off the couch? There is an abundance of smartwatches and fitness bands that remind you to walk at least 10,000 steps everyday. Need to improve your sleep quality? Yup, you’ve guessed it – there are apps and devices for that, too.
Improvements In Health Reinforces Healthy Habits
To understand whether these behavioral changes are paying off, you can track different health metrics to understand what’s happening inside your body, letting you know whether your efforts are working out for better or for worse. Taking consistent measurements with your health tracker will help you see how your health is improving over time; and by making healthier lifestyle choices with time, your resting heart rate should decrease, pulse wave velocity should fall, and weight should lower — just to name a few.
Seeing improvements in your health vitals? Keep doing what you’re doing. Seeing negative impacts? Take this as a sign to make some changes.
There are countless stories of individuals who’ve been able to dramatically improve their health by tracking their behaviors and health vitals. Take Ari Meisel, for example. By tracking everything from diet to exercise regimens, as well as their effects on his body, he’s been able to rid himself of any signs of Crohn’s disease, an incurable disease he was diagnosed with years ago.
His story is not a unique one. Many of us are learning a lot about ourselves by analyzing and sharing our own health data – which for years has been limited to being available only at the doctor’s office.
Today’s health and behavioral trackers are accurate and reliable, empowering us to take better care of our health. With more data about what we’re doing and how it’s affecting our bodies, it makes it much easier to anticipate when something might break down. Now more than ever, we’re armed with more insights about our health – allowing us to make better, more informed decisions everyday, improving each and every one of our health outcomes.