Article at a Glance
- Self-quantification is the measuring and tracking of biomarkers in order to improve one’s health.
- Self-quantification methods vary from basic pen and paper tracking to advanced wearable technology.
- Good use of self-quantification will help you identify which interventions most strongly support your wellness goals.
You are already sold on the value of living a healthy lifestyle. You are even a believer in the potential for self-quantification to increase the benefit of your efforts. But how do you get started in the self-quantification movement? This self-quantification for beginners article will put you on the right path to improvement through self-quantification.
Self-Quantification for Beginners Techniques
The fundamental principle behind self-quantification is that you can’t improve what you’re not tracking. It is difficult to know whether tactics taken to improve an area of health are working without objective data. This is why quantifying yourself in measurable terms is so valuable to improving your wellbeing and performance.
Quantification methods vary from basic journaling to blood tests that measure different biomarkers to high tech wearables that track your biodata from moment to moment. Any form of gathering data on your current state of health in order to track the effects of interventions aimed at improving health falls under the umbrella of self-quantification.
Methods of Self-Quantification
Some of the most low-tech ways to quantify your health are as simple as writing things down. Start with what you eat and how those different foods make you feel.
Several methods now exist to quantify what microbes currently make up your gut microbiome. This helps you choose foods or pre- and probiotics that assist you in building a more favorable microbiome for optimal digestion and gut health. Likewise, many companies now offer tests that sequence your DNA so you know better what diets and exercise are going to be most advantageous for your specific genetic makeup.
Basic blood tests done in a laboratory can help identify where you may have a vitamin deficiency or have increased inflammation. Also, constant glucose monitoring via stick-on wearable devices allows tracking of your insulin response to different meals and workouts.
Finally, the introduction wearable tech devices have made tracking your biomarkers easy. The Oura ring and the Whoop, for example, can perform detailed sleep analysis of both the quantity and quality of your sleep. Other wearables can even track your mental wellbeing to help bring you a calmer state of mind.
How Self-Quantification Can Be Helpful
Basic scientific principles dictate that if you want to know whether an intervention is helping, you must change only one variable at a time. So if you’re trying to improve your sleep through self-quantification, first you must choose a tracking device to establish a baseline. Then, you should choose one intervention at a time to see if there is objective evidence of improvement.
For example, if you get poor sleep on weekdays, you may suspect that the stimulation from being actively engaged in work or other activities right up until bedtime might be interfering with your sleep. You should test whether relaxation for 30 minutes prior to bedtime will improve your sleep. Test it, track it, and adjust.
For the best results, start your experiment by following your typical routine as consistently as possible for one week. This will establish a baseline for you to compare against. The following week, implement your half hour of relaxation while keeping everything else as consistent as possible. Then you check your sleep data to see if there is an improvement. This will help you determine whether or not making the change in your bedtime routine is a beneficial move.
Self-quantification can help significantly in your efforts to improve your health and performance. Tracking how different interventions are helping or harming your efforts is the first step. It tells you where to invest your efforts because you now have the information to determine what works best for you. In that sense, self-quantification for beginners is not all that different from self-quantification for advanced trackers. There are many ways to foster wellness and longevity. The great thing about this one is that it can be as simple as wearing a band, listening to what it is telling you, and making informed decisions.
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