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Track Your Exercise

fitness tracker deviceYou may think your days are action-packed, but are they really? Think about how much time you spend sitting in classes, watching TV, or hanging out. Maybe you're not getting the 60 minutes of physical activity that it takes to be healthy, after all?

The best way to know if you're hitting your goal is to keep track. Research has shown that people are more motivated when they keep track. Seeing your goals and watching your progress can help give you the energy you need keep exercising.

Here are some fun ways to help keep track of how much you really move.

Start a chain reaction. Create a chain out of construction paper links or paper clips. Make it 21 links long. Take off a link every time you spend 20 minutes moving. Aim to break off three links a day. It should take you one week to break the whole chain. You'll be surprised at how great you feel when all the links are gone!

Map your progress. Pretend every hour of activity equals 100 miles. Then keep track of your progress on a globe or map. How far can you get in a week? A month? Can you make it across your state? How long will it take you to get to Washington, D.C.? Circle the world? Remember, your mom or dad can help you chart your progress or come up with cool destinations for you to "visit."

Get in step. Pedometers are small watch-sized devices that clip to your waistband and track how many steps you take each day. They don't cost much, so maybe everyone in your family can wear one. Have a contest to see who covers the most ground daily, weekly, and monthly. Or compete with yourself: You hit 5,000 steps today? That's great. Can you add an extra 500 steps tomorrow? Not hitting your mark today? That's all the more reason to get off your butt when commercials come on and jog in place, do some jumping jacks, and add more steps to your daily total.

Chart your progress. Write down in a diary what you do for exercise and for how many minutes. Place stickers on a calendar for every day that you reach your 60-minute goal.

Ready to get moving? Get Off Your Butt

Here are some ways to get started. Try This: Stretching Exercises

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD, FAAP on December 23, 2013