6 Ways to Track Your Healthy Aging Routine
Starting a healthy aging routine is easy but sticking to it is the challenge. Whether you are trying to sleep better, exercise more, or incorporate healthy aging supplements like Tru Niagen®, a new routine requires a lifestyle change.
If you feel like you’re not gaining momentum, you might want to start tracking your routine. Measuring your progress can give you daily encouragement and motivation to make your good habits last a lifetime.
Here are a few things you can incorporate into your daily regimen to make healthy aging habits an automatic part of your day.
1. Make your goals concrete and easy to accomplish.
Telling yourself that you’re going to start eating healthy and exercising more is a great idea. But how are you going to measure your success? How do you know if you’ve achieved the goal?
It’s important to distinguish between an idea and a goal.
Eating healthy is an idea. Eating two servings of vegetables a day for the next eight weeks is a goal.
Make your goals measurable by making them into a series of smaller goals. If you want to eat more vegetables, start simple. Begin with two servings of vegetables twice a week, then move gradually to every other day, and eventually to every meal.
Set milestone dates when these transitions happen. That way, you have clear markers of progress.
2. Use a reminder app.
A powerful supercomputer sits in your pocket. But sometimes, the simplest tools in your smartphone can be the most useful.
Using a reminder app, like the Todoist app or Apple Reminders, allows your phone to keep track of your priorities.
Set yourself a recurring task that will ping you at a specific time or a particular location. Use colors to mark tasks that require immediate attention.
Have a full list of reminders already? A simple exclamation mark or capital letters can help your healthy reminders stick out amongst the slew of things you need to get done.
3. Get a fitness tracker.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of heart-pumping physical activity per week for adults.
Luckily, today’s technology makes physical activity tracking even more effortless. Tools like Fitbit, Oura Ring, and Apple Watch can monitor your heart rate and your activity. A step counter works too. One is usually preloaded in your smartphone.
Analyze your data and start developing a plan for yourself. Eventually, you’ll feel for a rhythm of how you want to train your body.
For example, you can gradually increase your endurance by increasing your distance in small measurable increments. You can see your strength increase as you add more weights or reps.
After you have everything tracked, you’re able to observe your results and make adjustments for each session.
4. Monitor your sleep.
According to the National Institute of Aging, a common misconception is that we need less sleep as we age. Seven to nine hours of sleep is the ideal range.
However, there may be several factors that could be contributing to poor sleep quality. You could be snoring, coughing, getting up to urinate frequently, or moving a lot in your sleep.
If you have a fitness tracker, you already have a sleep monitor. If you don’t have one, simple apps like Sleep Cycle can use your existing smartphone to analyze sleep patterns.
The app can determine how long it takes for you to fall asleep by monitoring sounds through your built-in microphone. It also uses a 30-minute window to set the alarm, making the waking process less abrupt and more conducive to your REM cycle.
5. Follow a meal plan.
Calorie counting apps can be helpful to log every meal and reach specific caloric goals, but they often don’t tell you the whole story.
All calories shouldn't be treated the same. A 200-calorie cookie is not the same as 200 calories worth of vegetables. An appointment with a registered dietitian can help you pinpoint your nutritional gaps.
Tracking your food can help ensure you are eating a variety of healthful foods within the recommended caloric range. Make sure you’re getting enough macronutrients and micronutrients.
The best thing you can do is to create a meal plan yourself, preferably with a dietitian. Planning out meals takes the guesswork out of everyday nutrition. Start with 1-day meal plans that focus on healthy aging foods. Use healthy aging supplements like nicotinamide riboside to optimize your diet plan for more healthy aging benefits.
6. Keep a journal.
If you don’t want to shell out for any pricey gadgets, you can always do things the old-fashioned way—journaling. Simple formatting options like a bullet journal can work just as well as any fitness tracker.
Bring a notebook with you to the gym and count your sets and reps. Write down your jogging distance and time.
Don’t have a heart rate monitor? Place your index and middle fingers on your wrist below the base of your thumb. Count the number of beats over 30 seconds and multiply that number by two. Write it down after each workout set.
Journals can also keep track of things that data can never tell you. The University of Rochester Medical Center notes that journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression.
At the end of each day, go through a mindfulness exercise answering the following prompts:
What made you smile today?
What was the most challenging part of your day?
What did you learn today?
Name one beautiful thing that you heard today.
Name one experience that made you feel brave today.
Write one sentence to remind yourself why you want to Age Better®.
Notice any patterns in what you wrote? Keeping track of your mood and sensitivity may underline hidden motivations for your new routine.
Remember: Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Don’t forget to take stock in the small successes throughout your journey—hitting a new streak goal or leveling up on your step count.
If you haven’t hit any milestones in a given day or week, keep your chin up. That’s what makes milestones so much sweeter when you do.
There are going to be days when you just don’t feel like hitting your goals. That’s ok. Habits aren’t built by daily motivation.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says, “...really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.”
Showing up is half the battle. Every day you simply participate in your routine is progress.