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yogaYour personal health requires more than just a basic physical fitness log of exercises or weight loss. A human body is an amazing machine where every single part, in some way, influences every other part. This is why it’s so scary when you or someone you love has symptoms or strange behaviors that seem to come from nowhere.

Sleep disorders, behavior disorders, obesity, diabetes and so many other ailments produce physical pains and emotional reactions that many doctors can predict, but which most of us lack the medical training or expertise to understand. This is why, especially if you’re caring for someone who is mentally or physically ill, it’s so important to track and monitor health factors such as weight fluctuations, mood swings, sleep problems and more.

As the Earth gradually drifts further from the sun and the daylight hours begin to shrink, I would like to focus on an important online resource I discovered that can help you create a mental and physical fitness log to monitor and predict physical and emotional problems and get yourself or someone you love the help that they need before it’s too late.


Here at MakeUseOf, we believe in the importance of living a healthy life, which is why we’ve offered a number of articles with geeky resources that might help, such as the miVitals online system to store and share your medical information, Trusera – a health information social network, and iMedix – a health search engine. The application I’m going to cover today is an excellent online community called MedHelp, which offers a wonderful library of “trackers,” which are tools that can help you monitor every aspect of your health that you might be concerned about.

Tracking Your Mood With a Mental Fitness Log

MedHelp is a health conscious online community that, according to the website, has over 8 million members. The social community itself would require an article all of its own to review, but what I’d like to focus on are the free tools offered for free when you sign up that allow you to log dozens of mental and physical fitness factors. Having some personal experiences in the mental health field, there’s one particular tracker that I found extremely valuable and an excellent resource for anyone suffering from depression or other mood disorder – a mood tracker.

physical fitness log

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When you click on one of the mood trackers on the main MedHelp page and provide your sign-up information, you’re immediately presented the page where you can modify the particular tracker that you chose. You can customize the tracker depending what type it is.

You can set the tracker to be your own mental or physical fitness log or someone else’s that your monitoring, and you can also make it public – either to just specific friends or completely open to the world (it’s surprising how many people are willing to share their personal logs. You can configure the tracker to remind you to update your mood tracker daily, weekly or monthly (or never), and finally, you can set it so that it’s customized for a particular mood disorder such as major depressive or bipolar.

physical fitness log

The major chart area is where you click to insert your log entries, and you can scroll from month to month so that you can see the history.

mental fitness log

On your profile page, you’ll notice the community features on the menu bar at the top. You can add friends (or family) who can view your charts, add private or public journal entries, notes, photos and of course post to various message boards about health issues. When it comes to health, having a community to ask questions and share experiences is absolutely invaluable – especially when you’re going through a major medical health crisis. There’s always someone out there who has suffered through the same thing.

free fitness logs

When you click the “Manage” button  at the right of the top menu on your profile page, you can add additional trackers to your profile. When you enter this area, get ready to be shocked by the impressive number of tracker apps that are available, including ones to track addictions, anxiety and panic attacks, baby health, cholesterol, diabetes, headaches and migraines, ovulation and even weight and exercise trackers.

health fitness logs

Back to the mood tracker example, when you add a new item to the chart, you can choose the update based on what you’re tracking. In this case you can update what your (or your family member’s) overall mood was that day. Not only can you track mood, but you can keep track of a whole assortment of symptoms and other signs that something might be going wrong.

free fitness logs

The items mentioned on these menus and screens hint that a doctor or some other medical professional put them together because they really do hit on the items that are relevant to what you’re trying to track.

tracker7

If you want, you can even type a journal entry for the day to note an event or a situation that you want to remember later on when doctors or anyone else asks what might have caused a condition to worsen. As you enter data every day, you’ll notice a trend line developing on the large chart at the top of the tracker.

fitness log sheet

While you’re entering in your daily information, little details that may seem inconsequential all get accumulated into the big picture and the tracker shows you, in a graphical format, how all of these things – events, medicine, mental state and physical state – all factor into your sense of well-being. For example, how the change in season and shorter days has a significant negative effect on your mood (so you should plan a fall vacation!)

The MedHelp library of trackers include such a variety of tools that you could use it even if you’re perfectly healthy and just want to start exercising and losing weight. There’s a weight tracker, diet tracker and an exercise tracker that can show you what exercises and food have the greatest impact on your weight and how. Here’s the summary data for an obese, 220 pound guy who sits on his chair all day writing articles (why are you assuming that’s me?)

fitness log sheet

You can set goals, monitor progress, and troubleshoot your own health with mental and physical fitness logs for every aspect of your life. You can analyze, with real information and real data from your daily life, what works and what doesn’t. By tweaking your daily life – removing what you learn has a negative effect and adding what you learn is positive – you can transform your physical and emotional well-being.

Which of the tracker tools look like they may help you? Do you use any other tools to track and analyze your health? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

  1. brian
    November 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    It appears that this tracker only allows for a daily input of moods. Is there anything out there that allows tracking in smaller increments like hourly?

    • Ryan Dube
      November 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm

      Hey Brian,

      That's true, I don't believe any of these tools break it down into hourly, as far as I know. I'll keep an eye out for any tools that do that and maybe put together another article at some point. Thanks - hope you're able to find one that works for you.

      • ruby
        November 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm

        Perhaps you've covered this in a previous article (I didn't do a search) but I like thecarrot.com for tracking all sorts of health info. And you can track moods and symptoms as many times a day as you like. Also, the iphone app is pretty handy.

  2. Mike Wales
    November 8, 2009 at 11:12 am

    No, you don't need to specify the hemisphere. You have to understand that the differences in distance to the sun has no effect on seasons. It's tilt. You apparently still don't understand.

    • Aibek
      November 12, 2009 at 7:43 pm

      I don't see why it's important here, why bother about it?

    • Ryan Dube
      November 12, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      The hemisphere that gradually tilts away from the sun is, in fact, "drifting" away from the sun. However, if I outlined all of that in the single line where I was only using the imagery as a metaphor for the onslaught of seasonal darkness and depression, I'd come across as a complete and total nit-picking nerd trying to prove that he's a know-it-all.

  3. Jean
    November 8, 2009 at 11:01 am

    nvm, it work now.

  4. Jean
    November 8, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Is medhelp.org down ? I can't access the site atm. great article btw.

  5. Irina
    November 7, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Just for future reference, the Earth is actually closer to the sun during the north hemisphere's winter, not drifting away from it.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm

      Ahh...yes thank you. I'll be sure to specify the hemisphere next time I note any sort of Earth/season imagery in my articles.

  6. Monica Dickey
    November 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Kind of cool but I think the lack of food logs or body fat % prevents this from truly being a useful fitness application. It's all well and good to keep tabs on your mood and everything, but if all someone is focusing on is their emotional state instead of their actual activities and diet I think they're setting themselves up for failure.

    This seems more useful for tracking symptoms etc during recovery from an illness or disability.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm

      Hey Monica - thanks for the comment. If you take a look at the site, you'll find that there are dozens of trackers, and the exercise and/or weight tracker apps have the sort of body fat% tracking you're referring to. The diet tracker has the food lock with calories and all. Check out the site itself, I'm confident you'll be impressed!

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