Health tracker FAQ’s
When making lifestyle changes it’s important to monitor weight, especially if the changes you’re making are aimed at weight loss, maintenance, or gain.
You can measure your weight using a set of scales. If you do not have access to scales at home, you can often weigh yourself at your GP surgery, local pharmacy, and some leisure centres.
Tips for measuring your weight:
• Take your weight measurement at roughly the same time of day
• Wear similar clothing each time you measure your weight
• To see how your weight may be changing over time, use the same set of scales each time you weigh yourself (we suggest no more than once weekly)
• Place the scales on a hard surface before stepping on (i.e. avoid soft rugs and carpet)
High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension), rarely have noticeable symptoms. If you are diagnosed with either of these conditions; it is important that steps are taken to manage them. The risk of heart attack and stoke increases if high blood pressure is left untreated.
If you are aged over 40, it is recommended that you have your blood pressure checked at least every 5 years however if you are at increased risk of high blood pressure; yearly is recommended.
You can do this by having a blood pressure test at your GP surgery, at some pharmacies, as part of your NHS health check or in some workplaces. You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
Whilst on your programme you may want to track your blood pressure more regularly, especially if you have previously been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure. If you would like more information on tracking blood pressure, please discuss with your health coach or GP.
Walking is a great way to boost your activity level, it’s free and can fit around your schedule.
Tracking your step count can help you to understand how active you are during a day, week or month. A brisk 10 minute walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your physical activity minutes for good health. Tracking steps can also support you to set & monitor goals to increase your activity if this is important to you.
If you would like to become more active, consider trying to increase your step count gradually. Plan in walks and find moments through your day where you could increase your steps. For example, walking rather than driving to the local shops or getting off the bus a stop early.
BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure of your weight in relation to your height and is measured in kg/m2. It can help to identify if your weight puts you at risk of some health issues including diabetes and heart disease. You will learn more about BMI as part of your programme.
Tracking your BMI can be helpful if you are aiming to manage your weight, taking small steps towards a healthier BMI will support your overall health.
Please note, BMI is one way to track weight in relation to health, but it should be considered as one of many health tracking measures including waist circumference and resting heart rate.
Blood glucose is a measure of how much glucose is circulating in your blood over a specific period. It is measured through a blood test typically organised by your GP or medical team. The two most common blood glucose tests include:
Capillary blood glucose (taken using a finger prick; may be fasting or at other time points in the day)
HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin)
Capillary blood glucose tells you how much glucose is circulating in your blood at the moment the blood sample was taken, whereas HbA1c is an average measure of blood glucose levels over the last 3 months.
It can be helpful to monitor blood glucose levels when making changes to your lifestyle, particularly if you have had a diagnosis of low (hypoglycaemia) or raised blood glucose (pre-diabetes/ diabetes).
The size of your waist is an indication of fat storage around your middle. A waist measurement higher than the recommendations indicates increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke.
It can be helpful to track the changes to your waist circumference whilst on your programme, as it can tell you how you are getting on outside of your weight on the scales. It can take a little while to see changes to your waist measurement, so try measuring and tracking monthly.
To measure your waist accurately, find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, wrap a measuring tape around your middle between these two points. Breathe out naturally and take your measurement. Alternatively, you can take the measure from two fingers width above your belly button; choose the measurement approach that feels the most easily repeatable for you.
Your resting heart rate is measured by taking your pulse and counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute when you are at rest. This is an indication of your fitness, generally the fitter you are the lower your resting heart rate.
Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100bpm (beats per minute). If you are concerned that your resting heart rate is regularly too high or too low, speak you your GP.
When making healthy behaviour changes you may want to track your resting heart rate to indicate if and by how much your fitness level is improving.
Tracking activity minutes involves measuring the length of time you are active through the day and logging the duration. For example, a 10-minute walk and 30-minute swim, will accumulate to 40 active minutes in the day.
By tracking the length of time you spend being active, you can gain an understanding of how active you typically are. In your programme you will learn about the recommendations for minutes of activity for people of varying ages, and therefore will be able to assess if you are meeting those recommendations. You will also then be able to set realistic and manageable activity goals so that you might gradually increase your activity levels in a sustainable way.
There is strong evidence to show that setting goals is an effective step towards creating change. If you would like to improve on any of your health tracker items, set realistic goals and take small steps to create sustainable change. For example, if you would like to increase your step count, think about how many steps you would usually take in a day and then set a step goal which challenges you but feels achievable.