As the gyms are re-opening this week, it is finally time for us to transition from doing our exercise in the backyard back into the gym. For many of us, this will mean the start of a new exercise routine or the recommencing of our old routine. Many will want to regain their strength or muscle mass and some will have completely new goals. In order achieve these goals, we need to be able to track our progress on a consistent basis, otherwise we will remain stagnant and we don’t achieve the results we wanted. Here are some tips on how to track your exercise progress;
- Anthropometric measurements:
This is one of the simple and most common ways you can frequently track your progress. These measurements can include measuring your weight, BMI, waist and hip circumference. For those who want a more detailed assessment of their body composition, a DEXA scan is the gold standard assessment that accurately measures how much fat and muscle you have in the body and where its situated. This is useful to help monitor muscle growth and body fat loss throughout your exercise regime.
- Exercise Testing:
If your goal is to build strength, improve your cardiovascular fitness or increase your flexibility, it is important to have exercise testing done throughout your journey. Tests such as force plate testing, grip strength , Vo2 max testing and the sit and reach tests are great tools to assess whether you are making progress or if it is time to review your current exercise routine. The best way to do this is to see a qualified health professional such as an Accredited Sport Scientist or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist , who can conduct these tests accurately and safely and identify your current levels of strength and fitness. These health professionals will also explain to you what areas need improvement and the best ways it can be done.
Vital measurements such as blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose are important for those who are currently managing a chronic disease or would like to improve their long-term health to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular or metabolic diseases. This is a good way of keeping track of how you’re progressing with your program and is reflective of your current health. For example, if you have a high blood pressure, a reduction in blood pressure readings over time would indicate that cardiovascular health is improving and that your current exercise routine is providing a positive impact.