What's the value of keeping an exercise diary? I'm doing the exercises, do I really have to write them down?

The value of an exercise diary may depend on your situation. Are you doing exercises for a specific reason such as to lose weight or to reduce back pain? Perhaps you are in good health and just want to stay there.

No matter what your reasons, an exercise diary has some good benefits. It keeps us honest. Reporting all our exercises means we really did them and not just once but several times each week. Humans seem to be more likely to do something and do it well if we write it down.

We are more likely to keep up good habits when we keep a record. Once we miss two or three days, the red flag goes up in our minds. Now we may be more motivated to get back on track. The American Heart Association offers an on-line exercise diary. Log on to: http://www.justmove.org/diary/login.cfm . You'll have to register, but it's a free service.

For those who are trying to lose weight by increasing their activity and exercise, Weight Loss Resources offers a website that helps calculate calories burned. There's also some useful exercise information and a walking progress chart. You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) and find exercise ideas to boost your routine. Check it out: