Apple Watch Fitness – The Apps and Features You Need to Stay in Great Shape

Apple Watch Fitness – The Apps and Features You Need to Stay in Great Shape

January 08, 2020


Introduction

Since its original release back in 2015, the Apple Watch has proven to be a great addition to the gadget collections of so many people.

The Apple Watch is a terrific partner for the tech giant’s super-popular iPhone. It has earned a reputation for being a highly customizable and functional accessory. You can change up the look using a variety of bands or dive deep into its impressive suite of features.

But those features barely scratch the surface of the Apple Watch’s potential.

On its own, the Apple Watch stood out for its usefulness as a fitness partner. Features built into it and apps developed for it helped to maximize its usefulness as a tool for fitness.

Highlighted below are some fitness areas that the Apple Watch can help address along with features and apps that you can use to stay in shape.

 

Table of Contents

Activity
Sleep
Mindfulness
Nutrition
Heart
Reproductive Health
Health Records
Emergency Health Information


Activity

Bike Riding
Apple Watch Fitness consists of many features, but first and foremost, it will help users remain in great condition by simply getting them moving.

It’s difficult to overstate how bad being inactive for extended periods of time can be for your health. In this day and age, where many folks spend the bulk of their days in front of their computers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of inactivity. The most exercise many people get could very well turn out to be the short walks to and from the water cooler.

Do note that you don’t have to take up a rigorous exercise regimen to maintain a good level of fitness. Simply being more active on a more frequent basis is already a huge step in the right direction.

What’s great about the Apple Watch is that it gives you a clearer picture of how active or inactive you are, thus putting you in a better place in terms of your overall health.


The App/Feature You Need: Activity App


To accurately keep track of how much you’ve been moving over the course of a single day, you will want to use the Activity App on your Apple Watch. You can use this app to track how many calories you’ve burned, how long you’ve exercised, and the amount of time you’ve spent standing.

Users also have the option of setting fitness goals so that they have something to aim for. The app also seeks to keep users engaged and moving by offering awards that can be earned by completing certain challenges. It also has a coaching feature you can activate if you want some help completing the goals you previously set.

A history feature built into the app will also let you know if you’ve kept up with your fitness goals or if you have some catching up to do.


Sleep


Getting the right amount of sleep is one of the keys to great health. To further illustrate that point, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute highlights certain health problems you may encounter if you are unable to receive a sufficient amount of sleep. These health problems include depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, obesity, and you also become more susceptible to suffering a stroke.

As if all of those health problems weren’t scary enough, you should also know that not getting enough sleep can lead to you to being involved in more accidents, cause your performance at work/school to suffer, and may even have an adverse impact on how you interact with others.

Simply put, the lack of sleep is bad for you in more ways than one.


The App/Feature You Need: Sleep++


The Apple Watch comes loaded with features that are designed to track and monitor your health. They are among the reasons why this wearable watch can be relied upon as a wellness tool. The developers of the Sleep++ app saw how those features were already working and added features to elevate the functionality of the Apple Watch.

Sleep++ works by monitoring your rest and determining its quality. It also separates the quality of sleep you’re getting into three categories.

First off, there’s what the app terms as “restful sleep.” This is the kind of sleep you want to enjoy every night and it is characterized by minimal movement.

“Restless sleep,” as the name suggests, indicates that you were unable to lie still as you were trying to get some shut-eye. Finally, the app may also indicate that you are “awake” even during your sleeping hours if it observes that you are moving around too much.

The app will also keep tabs on how long you sleep.

After collecting all that data, the app will then assign a score to the sleep you had on a particular night. It will even pick out your best stretch of sleep during that time.

App users have the option of keeping Sleep++ either in Automatic or Manual mode.


Mindfulness

Man Sitting on Dock
Stress is a constant presence in the lives of many people. Classrooms, offices, and homes can all become stressful environments. It would be one thing if the only thing stress did was cause headaches, but as studies have shown, it can be significantly more damaging than that.

According to Harvard Health, the stress response can be harmful because it can lead to your blood pressure being elevated. If that keeps up, you are effectively increasing your risk for developing heart disease.

Stress can wreak havoc on your brain, causing you to develop anxiety and/or depression. Being constantly exposed to stress can also make you more vulnerable to common illnesses such as colds.

Interestingly enough, there is a way to combat stress that does not involve taking medication or getting surgery of any kind. By simply breathing better, you can effectively minimize the impact that stress has on your body.

Going back to the Harvard Health article linked above, it mentions that deep abdominal breathing techniques help people execute “full oxygen exchange.” That full oxygen exchange is beneficial because it can help people better manage their blood pressure while also allowing them to slow down their heartbeat.


The App/Feature You Need: Breathe App


Now that you have a better idea of the negative impact that stress can have on your body and how you can counteract it, this is as good a time to bring up the availability of the Breathe App.

The Breathe App won’t wow you with a full suite of cutting edge features. Instead, it focuses on being an accurate and reliable tracker for your deep breathing exercises. It will tell you exactly when you need to start and stop your breathing exercises to ensure that you get the most benefits out of them.

The app will track your breathing and heart rates as you are using it. You can also rely on it to mute some of your notifications so that you can focus only on your breathing exercises.


Nutrition


Throughout the years, all kinds of diets have emerged and all of them claim to be the secret that will finally help people shed pounds and keep them at bay for good. While it is true that different diets work for different folks, the one thing you cannot afford to do if you are trying to lose weight is to lose track of what you are eating.

It’s easy to overeat or overindulge when you don’t keep a close eye on your food intake.

Proper nutrition is not only about eating in moderation though. You also have to be mindful of eating the right things.

Even when eating something like a protein bar, it’s important to realize that the ingredient makeup of one product can differ significantly from another even though it is in the same category. One protein bar may be leaning more on natural ingredients while the other relies on artificial additions.

By being more diligent with regards to how much you eat and what you eat, you can improve your health.


The App/Feature You Need: MyFitnessPal


Having a tracker for your food that’s conveniently resting on your wrist would be ideal for nutritional purposes. That’s exactly what you’re getting from MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal is an Apple Watch fitness app that has a database consisting of over six million different foods. It is also capable of recognizing up to four million different barcodes. There’s a good chance that it will be able to identify the product you are about to consume while giving you plenty of vital information about it.

The app can also be used to track the nutrients you are receiving from your food so that you can know exactly what you are putting into your body. You are also given access to the all-important calorie counter.

Notably, MyFitnessPal is not just for identifying foods and the nutrients they provide. The app will also help you come up with your own nutritious recipes, pinpoint healthy options offered by restaurants, and supply you with the information you need to make better decisions regarding the food you eat.


Heart

Heart shaped bowl of fruits
Heart disease continues to be a leading cause of death among people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the “leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.”

To help give people an even better idea of how prevalent heart disease is, the CDC further notes that it is the cause for one out of every four deaths in the country annually. Heart attacks are also remarkably common as at least one heart attack takes place in the country every 40 seconds.

Keeping a close watch over the current condition of your heart is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

You can make that particular task easier by leaning on the features of your Apple Watch and a specific app that it can host.


The App/Feature You Need: ECG App


Doctors use ECGs or electrocardiograms to gain insight into how the heart is performing. This test tallies the frequency and the strength of the electrical signals that are responsible for keeping the cardiac muscle beating. Those stats will tell the doctor if there is something off regarding the heart of a specific patient.

It would obviously still be best if you can go to a hospital and have your heart tested and checked by a doctor, but if you don’t have the time for that just yet, you can make use of the ECG App. The aforementioned app utilizes the electrical heart sensor of the Apple Watch to get a read on how your heart is doing.

Using the ECG App is simple enough. After ensuring that the Apple Watch is resting correctly over your wrist, you can open up the app.

Rest your arms on a stable, level surface next. Follow that by placing your finger on the Digital Crown. The app will then record your heartbeat over the next 30 seconds.

Once it’s done recording, the app will give you a classification. You can then add and save any symptoms you are aware of before finishing up.

The app will give you results once the process has been completed and you will know more about the current status of your heart.

Do note that the app may sometimes provide an inconclusive result. If that’s the case, check to see if your watch and arms are oriented properly before taking another reading.


Reproductive Health


For women who are currently on the fence regarding whether or not they should pick up the Apple Watch, it may be useful to know that this wearable watch can be helpful when it comes to monitoring reproductive health.

Among the things that the Apple Watch can help track is the quality of cervical mucus and that is hugely important.

As noted by Healthline, knowing the quality of cervical mucus will make it easier for women to either avoid becoming pregnant or conceive. The consistency of the cervical mucus will change as women go through the ovulation cycle. With the help of the Apple Watch, you can now get a better idea of what the quality of the cervical mucus says about the current state of your body.

The wearable is also useful for monitoring body basal temperatures and your period.


The App/Feature You Need: Cycle Tracking App


In order to accurately keep track of where you are in your menstrual cycle, you can use the Cycle Tracking App that is bundled together with the watchOS 6.

Once the appropriate OS has been installed on your watch, you can reach Cycle Tracking via the Health App. Open up Cycle Tracking using the browse feature and move to the correct day. Then click on the oval to start tracking your period.

You can also monitor other information regarding your reproductive health with the help of this app.

The Predictions feature of this app will provide an estimated start date for your next period while the Statistics section will show you information relevant to your previous periods.

Notification options for the app can also be set. These will let you know if your period is about to start. There is also an option that can inform you when your fertility window will begin.


Health Records

Apple Watch Health App
Health is one of those things that you can easily disregard or forget about if there’s no pressing matter that you are currently dealing with. Even though going to the doctor for a regular check-up is ideal, the reality is that many people are too busy to do even that. They prefer to take the reactionary approach to their health as opposed to putting all the preventative measures in place.

But what if there was a way for people to still receive a fairly accurate snapshot of their current condition without having to schedule a doctor’s appointment? Features offered by the Apple Watch aim to finally give people the chance to still track their health while simultaneously allowing them to spend their time on more pressing matters.


The App/Feature You Need: Health App


This article has touched on some benefits users can receive from the Apple Watch’s Health App, but it is important to know that this particular offering can do so much more.

For example, you can set up your own Medical ID with the help of the Health App. While in the process of creating your Medical ID, you can include bits of vital information pertaining to your health such as your height, weight, blood type, and any forms of medication you are currently taking. The Medical ID can also detail the allergies and conditions you may have.

If you feel like your Medical ID does not contain enough information about your health, feel free to add more detailed records. The Health App can also be used to add health records supplied by supported hospitals and networks. You also have the option of adding records from more than one hospital and/or network.

After the health records have been added, information regarding your clinical vitals, immunizations, lab results, and procedures you have undertaken will also be featured in your account.


Emergency Health Information

How you respond to an emergency could be the difference between survival or succumbing to the situation at hand. Every second matters and the quicker you can secure medical attention either for yourself or for the person having a medical emergency, the better the chances that things will turn out well.

The good news is that the Apple Watch comes loaded with features that are designed to help you get in touch with emergency service providers as quickly as possible.


The Apps/Features You Need: Fall Detection and Emergency SOS


As people age, the mishaps that they could have previously shrugged off tend to no longer be the case. For example, suffering from a fall when you are a teenager may lead to a bone bruise and maybe something breaking, but those are still things you can recover from given time.

Suffer from a fall when you’re a senior citizen and it can lead to long-term hospitalization stemming from a serious injury. In some cases, older individuals may even die because of a fall.

If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or something newer, it will be able to detect if you just had a hard fall. Upon detecting the fall, the wearable will then tap you on the wrist, sound an alarm, and show an alert.

Once the alert has been displayed, you can then get in touch with emergency services if you need medical attention or dismiss the alert if you are fine.

Another great feature of fall detection is that it can spring into action without you doing anything. If it notices that you have been immobile for a minute, it will automatically call emergency service providers. The Apple Watch will also let your emergency contacts know that it has called emergency services and it will also share your current location with them.

Users should also know that the emergency features of the Apple Watch are not only useful if you have suffered from a fall.

You can also activate it by pressing and holding the side button of your Apple Watch. The Emergency SOS slider should appear after that and if you continue to press down on the side button, a countdown will begin and an alert will start to ring out. If the countdown expires, the watch will automatically call emergency service providers.

Conclusion


The Apple Watch does not receive the credit it deserves for being a useful gadget that can help improve a user’s quality of life. As you can see, several of its features and apps designed for it can help people get in the best shape of their lives while also protecting them from events that may put them at risk.

You can also extend the life of your Apple Watch and/or add to its already long list of capabilities by pairing it with the right accessories.

For the people out there who want to take better control of their health, obtaining an Apple Watch is a very smart move.


Sources:

Apple 

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute 

Harvard Medical School 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Healthline


 




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