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5 Powerful Health Numbers to Start Tracking Today

When you keep tabs on your habits you can take a big step toward better health.

Medically reviewed in January 2022

Updated on January 10, 2022

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You probably know that a portion of your risk for disease is outside your control, but a good amount lies within your hands. Take cancer, for example. Research shows that most cancer cases are attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors over which you have some influence.

Isn’t it time you took more control of your health?

Just by tracking one or more aspects of your health you’re on your way to being healthier. “When people log what they're eating, they eat better. When they track their movement, they tend to move more,” says Keith Roach, MD, associate professor in clinical medicine in the division of general medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Use a wearable activity tracker, a simple pedometer, or an online health tracker to take an easy step today toward better health. You can also track 13 dimensions of your health—including sleep, stress, alcohol consumption, diet, and exercise—using the Sharecare app (available for iOS and Android). Get started today.

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Track Sleep to Boost Mood

Research shows that roughly 45 percent of adults who sleep less than eight hours a night feel irritable or angry. Track how long and how well you sleep to learn if you’re really getting enough shuteye. Once you start to see patterns, you can determine whether it’s your tossing and turning at night—and not your spouse, job, or you fill in the blank—that’s to blame for your grouchy moods.

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Track Stress to Eat Better

Nearly 50 percent of stressed-out adults have bad eating habits, such as overeating or reaching for junk food, according to the American Psychological Association. Tracking your stress gives you information about what sets you off—so you can do something about it instead of heading to the freezer or vending machine.

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Track Alcohol to Live Longer

Excessive consumption of alcohol accounts for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grim statistic covers more than alcohol-related vehicle crashes. Deaths were also due to conditions caused by too much drinking over time, breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease.

Track your alcohol intake—and limit yourself to one drink per day if you’re female, or two per day if you’re male. Besides potentially saving your life, it can also lower your RealAge.

 

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Track Diet and Exercise, Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Over 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes. Major risk factors include too much weight and not enough activity. The good news: With diet and exercise (which tend to get better when you track them), you may be able to put your type 2 diabetes into remission.

Slideshow sources open slideshow sources

Anand P, Kunnumakkara AB, Sundaram C, et al. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes [published correction appears in Pharm Res. 2008 Sep;25(9):2200. Kunnumakara, Ajaikumar B [corrected to Kunnumakkara, Ajaikumar B]]. Pharm Res. 2008;25(9):2097-2116.
ScienceDaily. People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety. Jan. 4, 2018.
American Psychological Association. Stress in America 2021. Oct. 2021.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). Excessive Alcohol Use. Reviewed Nov. 23, 2021.
American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. Updated Mar. 22, 2018.
Cleveland Clinic. Diabetes: An Overview. Reviewed Mar. 28, 2021.
University of Michigan Health. Type 2 Diabetes: Can You Cure It?
Joslin Diabetes. Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed? Accessed Jan. 10, 2022.

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