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Top 10 Things You'd Be Surprised You Can Do at SparkPeople

Some of our Best Tools are Totally Unexpected
  -- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader
With thousands of features on the site and new ones launching every day, it's easy to miss some here and there. It's not unusual to hear a long-time member say "I never knew SparkPeople had this!" and sometimes, it refers to a feature that has been here for years! We thought it would be helpful to compile a "Top 10 List" of list of things you might be surprised you can do at SparkPeople.com. Hopefully you'll learn about some new features that you can start using to help you reach your healthy living goals!

1. Map your route. "I walked around the block today and it took me 35 minutes. How do I figure out how far I went?" SparkPeople's Fitness Maps will tell you! Track your route, calculate your speed, calories burned, share your map with others and add your workout to your Fitness Tracker. It works for running, walking and biking!

2. Meet-up with other members. A SparkRally is a meeting or event (held at a public or private gathering place) that provides an opportunity for you to meet up with other SparkPeople members who live in your city. Leaders of city SparkTeams can organize and host SparkRallies, and local Team members can choose whether or not they want to attend. Local teams and SparkRallies are a great way to meet some of your fellow members in person. So if you're not already a member of a SparkTeam for your city, do a quick search to see if there's a Team for your city. You can attend SparkRallies that your Team leader creates or suggest hosting one on your own!

3. Quickly track your nutrition and fitness. "More Tracking" is a tool on the Start page that lets you track up to 6 healthy habits each day: servings of fruits and vegetables, cups of water, hours of sleep and more. Quick tracking is perfect for people who want to monitor simple health goals without spending a lot of time tracking details like calories eaten and burned. 

4. Set up email reminders. SparkPeople's Planner can be used to track appointments, birthdays and important events. It can even send you email reminders of these events. This same page allows you to create and keep private journal entries--great for people who aren't interested in sharing their thoughts or progress on a public blog.

5. Track on the go. Did you know that you can take SparkPeople with you when you're away from home? If you have a phone with a web browser you can use the "Mobile Web" version of the site, which includes tracking food, cardio and looking up foods. We also have additional food and fitness tracking, as well as recipe applications for certain phones. Who knew tracking anywhere could be so easy?

6. Vote for the best blogs. Sometimes you read someone's blog and think, "Wow! That was so good, other people should read it, too." Well, you can help them find it by clicking the  "I Liked This" button at the bottom of the blog. When enough members agree, it will show up on the list of popular blog posts. Checking out this page regularly can lead you to blogs that are inspiring, raise important questions, or show you that others are going through similar experiences.

7. See your monthly progress at a glance. The SparkSummary Calendar is an interactive tool that allows you to see how you've been doing so far this month along with the activities that are planned for the days ahead. You can customize what items you'd like to see on your calendar, such as fitness minutes, calories eaten, SparkPoints, and more.

8. Upload a video blog. Any member with a SparkPage can upload a video blog. Whether you are demonstrating something or just discussing your progress and how you're feeling, video blogs are another way to communicate with other members and document your healthy lifestyle journey.

9. Learn the secrets of our most popular tools. This series of four site tutorial videos will help you learn about the key tools SparkPeople has to offer. The videos cover the basics of the Nutrition and Fitness trackers, your Start page, and the SparkPeople Community features.

10. Find motivation when things get tough. Check out SparkPeople's motivational quotations, a large collection of inspiring words about a variety of topics such as friendship, determination, and more.

If you're new to SparkPeople, the Getting Started Guide will introduce you to some of the site's key tools and features, so take your time getting familiar with everything. If you want to be in the know when we release new features and updates, follow the SparkPeople Blog. That's where we make announcements about all of the new and exciting things happening on the site and offer tips for using and finding the new features we create.

The site is changing every day in response to member requests and needs. We do our best to offer the tools and resources you need to reach all of your goals, and hope you take advantage of everything SparkPeople has to offer!