How Apple Watch has turned me into a healthier person

My first wearable was a Miband, it was ok, as soon as the app stopped syncing properly, I gave up.

My second wearable was a fitbit Alta, and I liked it, especially the challenges which I could compete with my friends. This is the only function I missed though, and that’s about it.

And now I have been using Apple Watch Series 3 for seven months, the effects on my lifestyle are unexpected. I am a lot more health conscious, and I have finally formed a habit of working out regularly.

Here’s why:

  1. Automated goals

    Every single Apple Watch users has a standing, exercise, and calories goals set up for them by default. Each day, the watch tells me whether or not I have reached my goals and gives me nudges when I am almost there. This feature has really encouraged me to proactively figure out how I could close my exercise and calories rings every day.

  2. The workout tracker, although not perfect, is very well done

    Trying to figure out how to close my ring goals also mean I started using the Apple workout tracker more. The insights given to me after each workout is presented simply but beautifully, I especially appreciate calories counter and heart rate function. By tracking my recovery heart rate each time, I know how much fitter I am getting! Moreover, the watch also uses the GPS function to map out my running route and my speed, after which a heat map is presented to me on how my speed varies and where. One thing that is not perfect yet though, is that the workout tracker does not track elevation properly, therefore most people who needs this function will go for Strava instead. Lastly, the ring goals could also be presented in calendar view, with a small green dot indicating whether a workout had been recorded each day. This function really helps me to become more motivated with my exercise habit.

  3. Flexibility

    The flexibility to track workouts and other habits using other apps is also a huge reason why I love my Apple Watch. If I’d like to socialise my running habit with my friends, then having Strava on my watch would be perfect, as it records the run into Apple Health and allows friends to tag each other. I have also downloaded sleeping apps such as Pillow to monitor my sleep, what I found interesting was how my heart rate could now be recorded, helping me to understand how it correlates with my sleeping pattern. The data collected from the workout tracker, Strava, Pillow, could all be integrated into many health and wellness apps in the market which will convert the data into actionable insights. Lastly, Apple Watch could also be integrated with devices such as EKG monitor KardiaBand by AliveCor, the first Apple Watch accessory cleared for medical use by the FDA. This device detect problems like atrial fibrillation, a type of heart arrhythmia, showing how much potential Apple Watch has in terms of recording quality health data.

  4. Social

    Apple Watch and its Activity app might not have the best social function like fitbit, but what I found interesting is that I am more selective about whom I share my data with. Currently, I only share my data with my dad, whose daily activity level is very important to me. I find this function does the job well, as I can monitor and care for people close to me. However, to challenge my friends and to encourage each other, I find that there might be other apps which could do better.

In addition to the personal reasons above, it is also worth noting that Apple has launched a US-wide heart rate study on irregular heart rhythms together with Stanford University. By enrolling onto this study, users will have their heart rates passively monitored, and they will be eligible to irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) notifications, free video doctor consultation and free biotelemetry ECG patch in some cases. Moreover, researchers have been able to use Apple Watch to detect sleep apnea, hypertension, and diabetes with 80%+ accuracy. Who would have thought a smartwatch could help advance medicine in such ways… Finally, in light of Michael J Fox Foundation’s recent partnership with Verily smartwatches to research into Parkinson’s disease, it makes one wonder if Apple will also venture into similar areas.

With high user stickiness, user-friendly and beautifully designed interfaces, easy-to-understood health data and continuous health and wellness advancements, it is no surprise that Apple is now the leader for smartwatches with a 21% marketshare in 2017. I am really looking forward to seeing more value-add Apple is going to bring in the health and wellness world!

Cover image from: https://www.pexels.com/

 

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