Who’s trying it: Morgan, Jonathan, Nick
From the beginning of We Wear It, our team has made clear that wearables are not just about counting steps—they do a lot more. The Apple Watch certainly falls into the “does a lot more” category, combining fashion with a whole lot of function. Here we’re concentrating on the Apple Watch as a health and fitness companion.
For its fitness tracking, the Watch uses three main hardware components: a heart rate sensor, an accelerometer, and GPS. These sensors are located on the back of the Watch ‘face.’
The Watch band is removable and easy to replace with whatever you deem most comfortable during a workout. I usually stick with the leather band, but it’s nice to know I have options, such as the fluoroelastomer sport band.
Now for the software…
The Watch features two native health and fitness apps, Activity and Workout, each with a different mission.
The Activity app is designed to keep you moving every day. The main interface features three concentric rings.
The outermost ring tracks the number of calories burned that day based on body measurements and personal goals. The ring’s progress indicates calories burned toward a burn goal for the day.
The second ring measures exercise “at or above a brisk walk” throughout the day. The default target number is 30 minutes, but it can be customized through the app.
The innermost ring (and my personal favorite) gets you up out of your chair and shows how long you’ve been sitting. The Watch nudges you to stand up and move for at least one minute of every hour via a sound, vibration, and visual message (although, notification settings can be changed based on your preference). For someone like me who gets lost in projects at work and forgets to move around, it is a welcome reminder.
The goal of the Activity app is simple; complete every ring, every day to improve fitness and build healthy habits. Since wearing the Apple Watch, I’ve noticed a difference in the amount of time I spend standing up and moving – and I’m much more aware of my daily activity level.
While the Activity app tracks progress throughout the entire day, it’s also important to sprinkle in a dedicated cardio workout. That’s where the Workout app comes into play. The app shows several live statistics like elapsed time, distance, calories, pace, and speed for a variety of popular activities, including running, using the elliptical, stair stepper, and cycling — indoors or out. Before starting a workout, you tap the app, select your desired activity, and set a calorie, distance, or time goal. When you’re ready, you tap “Start” and the app does the rest of the work.
Throughout a workout, the app provides updates to keep you motivated to finish strong. Because apps live right on the Apple Watch, there’s no need to pull out your phone and check progress. The Workout app also keeps track of your best and latest workout for each category so that you can push yourself to achieve more and improve your health over time.
There are also plenty of Watch apps available to complement health and fitness goals, like those for water consumption, calorie counting, interval training, sleep tracking, and socializing your activity to keep you accountable.