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How can I reach my exercise goals?

An exercise tracker can be a great tool to help you reach your fitness goals.

The USDA’s SuperTracker is a free online tool that currently helps 1.5 million consumers to eat healthier, manage their weight and reach their physical activity goals.

SuperTracker's features allow you to:

  • Create a customized appropriate, calorie allowance based on your gender, age, activity level, and weight goals.  
  • Journal your food intake, which research has shown can help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Track what and how much you eat in order to see how your current diet stacks up against your customized plan.
  • Monitor the intensity and duration of your daily physical activity.
  • Interact with a virtual coach that will give you “how-to” tips and feedback related to your goals.

You can find SuperTracker at ChooseMyPlate.gov.

 

In setting goals it's important to think realistically (doing some exercise but not too much exercise) about setting 2-3 small, short term goals that come out of your long term goals: for example, losing weight and the ability to be active with my family. Those goals should include intent (intending to go to the gym) and effort (I was able to climb one or two more stairs). As you find yourself reaching one goal you'll find your confidence increasing to reach the next goal. You will also need to take into consideration what "things" help you to exercise: groups, friends and family and what "things" get in the way of exercising: time, energy, work and motivation. Once you are aware of what things you need to exercise and what gets in the way, you are better able to incorporate those into your goals to help you move forward and build confidence. For example, if you don't like to workout alone, then it's important to be aware of that, add that to your goals and find someone to workout with you. If work is a barrier to exercise, add that to your goals and find a way to either incorporate exercise into your work or add it before or after your work.
Choose one or two things you'd like to try to get started with exercise and physical activity. Then set a realistic, achievable plan to make it happen.

Keep track of your activity. You might find that writing everything down helps keep you on target. Think about what works best for you. You might try a notebook, calendar, spreadsheet, cell phone, or online activity tracker to log and record your progress.

It may be helpful to meet on a regular basis with others who are also trying to be active. Think about joining a group for exercise or general support, or find a walking buddy. Then work together to reach your goals.

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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.