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Quantified Selfers: Data-Loving Gadget Users

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What You Gain From Your Personal Data continued...

Another helpful piece of personal info you can track is your mood. If you’re having a stressful day, bombarded with texts and demands, some trackers can turn changes in your pulse or breathing patterns into meaningful data. When you look at your stats for a week or so, you can start to identify the situations and times of day that are the most challenging. Then, you can use that new insight to adjust your work habits or how you spend your down time (yoga, anyone?).

Intriguing, isn't it? It's not hard to see why some people get obsessed with personal data.

How Data Can Improve Your Health

It’s tempting to think that all you need to do is track to stay healthy. But as any veteran quantified selfer will tell you, to maximize your experience, you need to ask questions and set goals.

If you want to exercise more to help you lose weight, fitness tracking may be for you. One way you can make tracking work for you is to set a goal for how many calories you want to burn. For instance, if you increase the calories you burn by 200 a day, by the end of the week you'll have burned 1,400 calories -- almost half a pound's worth.

Once you have a goal, you can test your approach. See if working out in the morning helps your endurance, for instance. To evaluate that, see if you can work out longer before you feel tired. You can look at your whole workout time or part of it. It could be you can swim more laps before you need a breather. Or you haul yourself further up the big hill before you slow down. A longer workout should burn more calories.

If you like what you’re seeing, build on it. And as you succeed, find a community where you can log progress and post status reports.

It’s no wonder some experts view the tracking movement as an example of behavior psychology at its most positive. It helps you know what’s benefitting you and what isn’t. Tracking directs you on what to work on.

Whether you choose to skim the surface of this trend or go all in for the QS-ing life, happy data tracking!

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on November 04, 2014
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