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What tools can I use to track my progress in my new fitness plan?

These items will help you track your progress. You may have some of them already, so check your cupboards and closets before you hit the shops. If you simply must go out and buy everything brand spanking new, it shouldn't run you more than about $125.
  • Tape measure. The soft kind is best, as you'll be wrapping it around your waist. Check the sewing box.
  • Heart rate monitor. We like Polar and Omron products; they have chest straps and monitor watches.
  • Pedometer. Men typically prefer the type that fits onto a belt or waistband; women usually opt for a thinner model, which fits on a bra strap. Our patients get much longer life from the belt variety and in our experience, it seems more accurate.
  • Blood pressure monitor. Go for one that has an arm cuff. They're easy to use, and most have memory and computer download capabilities. Snazzy. You could use the blood pressure machine at your local drugstore instead, but public machines tend not to be accurate, so your reading might be off.
  • Notebook. To track your progress.

The best ways to track a fitness plan is by using a calendar, a journal or designing your own specific, tailored fitness worksheet that includes spaces to chart food, sleep, as well as physical and emotional aspects of your exercise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.