Imagine hiring a personal fitness trainer who pings or calls you every hour to motivate you. Or else, imagine someone who accompanies you 24×7 giving you fitness advice. If you are doing a white-collar job involving long hours of sitting and does very little physical activities in your leisure time, hiring such a trainer should be considered. Do you know why?
Because sedentary lifestyle is fast becoming a deadly habit even dangerous than smoking.
In my previous articles on “sedentary lifestyle” I’ve already explained the dangers and risks associated with it. You should read that article first, if you are unfamiliar with the “sitting lifestyle”.
When you are leading a busy life, every simple physical activity you do counts. It doesn’t matter where you are at that time, home or office. It could be walking your dog, taking the stairs, running to catch your bus, or even standing up for a few minutes and moving around in your office.
The hardest part is to keep track of your daily activities. How else could you know that you are doing enough daily activities to beat the sedentary habits? Still thinking about the personal fitness trainer?
How about a simpler solution?
Apple watch does just that, and it even keeps you motivated to do more physical activity. The Apple watch measures all the ways you move, and it even knows when you are standing up. This gadget can kick the ass of your sedentary lifestyle and can do much more. This article will tell you why the Apple watch can be considered a good fitness and health tracker.
The Three Rings
All you need to do is wear the Apple watch. The incredible sensors in the watch will do rest of the job for you. There is an “activity” app on the watch which gives a simple visual presentation of your daily activity in the form of three rings. Your goal is to close each of the three rings every day.
The Apple watch senses when you’ve stood up and moves a bit. It gives you credit for doing this simple task. If you’ve been sitting for more than one hour continuously, the watch vibrates and reminds you to “stand up”. You close the ring when you’ve stood up and moved around for at least one minute in 12 different hours in a day!
The second ring shows how much active calories you’ve burnt in a day. This is measured by the movement sensors in the Apple watch. Climbing stairs, playing with your kids, running to catch the bus, everything counts. Now, the number of calories burnt varies on from person to person. Apple has done something innovative in this regard by allowing the users to adjust the goal for the number of calories burnt. Each week, the move goal can be adjusted until it feels just right for you. Closing this ring every day is your task.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global health organizations, 30 minutes of physical exercise per day is enough. This could be anything from a brisk walk to more intense dedicated exercises. The Apple watch keeps track of any such activity that you do and gives you credit for the same. You can easily close the ring by completing this 30 minutes of exercise. The best part is that, you don’t need to do this on one stretch.
You can zoom in on each of these rings to get a bigger picture of how active your day was. In addition to that, the Activity app on the iPhone gives an overall picture by gathering info from the Apple Watch for the past day, week or month.
The Workout App
There is a dedicated Workout app on the Apple Watch that gives you more detailed info on every single workout you do. It can easily identify a wide range of the popular workout routines like running, cycling, rowing or cardio workout on an elliptical machine. The different sensors on the watch collects various stats like the speed, elapsed time, tempo, calories burnt, heart rate, distance covered etc depending on the type of the workout you’re doing. In order to get GPS features like the route, speed, distance covered, location etc, you’ll need to carry an iPhone with you (it’s compatible with iPhone 5 and higher models). GPS is one feature I’d love to have on the Apple Watch independently. This is because, there are many other gears available in the market which has inbuilt GPS, like the Fitbit Surge for instance.
You don’t have to worry about the watch getting damaged with sweat or using it when it rains. The Apple Watch is splash and water resistant (don’t try to immerse it in water though, as it’s not water proof).
One of the best things about this app on the watch is that it gives an instant picture of your last and best workout activity. You can adjust your goals for future workouts by changing the distance covered, calories that you’d like to burn or on the time spent on each activity. Thus there is room for regular progress with this stock app from Apple.
How I use the Apple Watch
Tracking my Workouts
To clearly understand this feature, let’s take my own workout routine with the aerobic cardio workout machine, Orbitrek Elite. I start a workout session only after fastening the sports type strap of my Apple Watch. I made this choice deliberately to use the Apple Watch as my fitness tracker because unlike the leather straps, the sports strap are water resistant.
A single press on the watch’s Digital Crown takes me to the Home screen. I open the Workout app on the watch and tap on the “elliptical” machine mode. I’ve set my goal time at 30 minutes and the calories target at 400 kCal. During the session I can swipe to the sides of the screen to get stats like calories burned, elapsed time and heart rate. There is an option to pause the session or finish it. At the end of my 30 minutes cardio workout, I swipe across the face of the watch to get various stats like distance covered, elapsed time and calories burned. Compared to the Apple Watch’s state of the art sensors, the small digital display attached to the Orbitrek Elite feels like a toddler’s toy to me. It’s still working, but I’m not using it at the moment. The stats are also far better on the Apple Watch. Data from every workout session syncs with my iPhone automatically and I can get a workout history on the Workout app on my phone. It gives me information like my best laps, days on which I’ve worked out, my least active days for the past one week, month etc.
There are more stats available when running or walking. I had to carry my iPhone initially to accurately track the distance covered, my speed, and route. But, after a few sessions, the watch seemed to learn my strides and it could do the distance tracking without the help of the phone. Moreover, the watch notifies me by vibrating when I’ve covered each kilometre, thereby motivating me immensely to achieve the set goal every single time.
Tracking Daily Water Intake
This is another simple yet effective way how I use my Apple Watch. I’ve written earlier posts on the importance of monitoring our daily water intake. Earlier, it used to be a mind game and assumptions. But now, with a third party app called Water Minder, things have become a breeze for me. Now, before I go to bed, I know for sure that I’ve drank enough water that day.
If you’re more of an outdoor lover, you should try out the various third party apps that can be installed on the Apple Watch from the App Store. I’ve personally not tried any of these apps so far and when I do, I’ll write a separate post on them. I’ve read about apps that can make use of the Apple Watch to monitor your sleep, plan your diet, and do many more things. It’s a region that I’ve yet to explore.
The Apple Watch is an incredible gadget which does so much more than just telling you the time in different beautiful bright coloured screens. There is an Apple Watch that suits everyone. That’s because it comes in two different sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm making it look perfect fit for all wrist types. If you’re an Apple fan like me, just go ahead and buy it. It’s a bit expensive compared to it’s competitors. The Fitbit Surge which has all the fitness features like heart rate sensor and GPS cost $100 less than the Apple Watch. Once you get the knack of using it, you’ll start loving the Apple Watch. Don’t make the health and fitness aspect of Apple Watch the main reason to buy it. To learn more about the features of Apple Watch, click here.
As a health and fitness tracking gadget, the Apple Watch does it’s job perfectly. It helps you beat the sedentary lifestyle, prevent you from many non-communicable diseases by motivating you to move around and stand up frequently. When it comes to dedicated workouts, the Apple Watch tracks whatever you’re dong, let it be brisk walking, running, cycling, rowing or using an elliptical aerobic machine like Orbitrek Elite. And it even motivates you by setting notifying you of your new milestone and setting new goals for your overall fitness improvement.
Do you own an Apple Watch? Are the fitness notifications helping you or annoying you? Are you planning to buy one?
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Featured Image Credit – Shinya Suzuki
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