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Health Corner: Keep tabs on your exercise

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

You're committed to daily exercise. That's step one. The next step is tracking your progress.

You surely know that frequent walking strengthens bone density, enhances mental health, and prevents heart disease and other ailments. But you may not know that by monitoring your physical activity, you're apt to do more of it.

The most common monitoring device is a pedometer, which you can use to tally your walking. In recent years, many Americans have emulated the Japanese and sought to walk 10,000 steps a day (about five miles). The trend is affecting consumer culture: Nike and Apple recently introduced a pedometer that's worn inside the shoe and beams data to an iPod.

A pedometer raises your awareness for how much you're walking. Even if you're a highly disciplined exercise buff, you may find yourself pushing harder if you track your activity. It's the same phenomenon that gym enthusiasts discover when they run on a treadmill: The machine's digital readout leads them to want to beat their last time.

Good records promote great results

According to studies by Dena Bravata, a physician and researcher at Stanford University, pedometers motivate people to meet and exceed their exercise goals. She found that individuals with pedometers walked about 2,000 more steps a day than those who didn't tabulate their progress.

If you don't want to use a pedometer, find other ways to record your physical activity. Note the time that you begin and strive to keep a steady pace for a specified period. With each subsequent walk, try to go one extra minute. A stopwatch can prove a powerful motivational tool.

Team up with technology to improve your fitness. At wellsphere.com, you can establish a free account to set goals, monitor your progress and even send reminders to your cell phone that prod you to exercise.

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