Fitness wearables and smartwatches continue to be quite interesting for potential buyers, in terms of the health tracking and monitoring capabilities they continue to offer. It’s a pretty competitively fought space, but not many wearables do the tracking and guiding bit much better than the Apple Watch. If you’ve bought a new Apple Watch or are considering spending on one, you must know that there’s a lot to the Watch beyond what you may hear or read the most about. That is, there’s a whole range of fitness tracking capabilities that should help you keep track of how much you’re sweating, monitor your heart rate range during activity and even share workouts with friends. We do not yet have the Apple Fitness+ service in India just yet, but worry not, because the Apple Watch does a very good job of guiding you and being the bad cop when you slack off.
There is a big difference between health, wellness and fitness. Something a lot of users tend to confuse quite regularly. There’s a difference, even though they are heavily linked with each other. Health is pretty much defining the overall functioning of your body. Health, for instance, would include aspects such as blood sugar levels, blood oxygen levels, resting and active heart rate, body fat, stress levels, how well you are washing your hands and so on. Fitness, which is derived from this state of well-being, is more about exercise, how your body responds to different levels of activity and the muscle as well as the nervous system conditioning for being active. Watching what you are eating and keeping your weight in check largely falls under the health umbrella, while daily running or workouts are defined as fitness.
The Apple Watch adds that motivational angle with something that you’d perhaps have already seen. The Activity Rings. These are a quick visual log of how much you’ve moved, exercised or how many times you’ve actually stood up and stretched your legs, every day. The more active you are to these, the quicker you’ll complete the rings. The lazier you are, the rings will remain incomplete, and you’ll probably have an equally incomplete feeling at the end of the day. Whether you are at work, working from home or even out and about on a casual weekend jaunt to the nearby mall (do not forget your face masks), these rings demand your attention and to be honest, can and must be completed irrespective of where you are or what your agenda for the day may be.
The Workout app on the Apple Watch gets you into the regular fitness routine. Whatever catches your fancy, chances are it’ll be there. Running, jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, dancing, stair stepper, elliptical, functional strength training, core training, even yoga—with some having further options for indoor and outdoor. Pick any that you want to for the day, and the Apple Watch will log metrics, including elevation changes.
Add in the biometric data that the Apple Watch adds to your fitness data, and what you’ll get is a more wholesome picture of how well you may be doing. For instance, and this is particularly true for the Apple Watch Series 6, you get the ability to log your Blood Oxygen levels. The hardware used for this are four LED clusters and four photodiodes that sit on the back of the Watch. Heart rate tracking remains a strength of the Apple Watch over the generations, and you’ll have a better idea of the heart rate zones at different activity and routine stages. The Watch will also notify you in case it detects any unusual signs of low or high heart rate, usually the first signs of a serious condition.
There’s the competitive angle too, which allows you to get your friends in on the fun too. In a way, everyone can stay fit and healthy, for the greater good of humanity. You start by sharing your activity rings and workout details with friends and start competing. You can also send and accept competition challenges. If ever you complained about the lack of motivation, now you really cannot. All this is available in the Fitness app on your iPhone, the same iPhone which is paired with the Apple Watch that you wear.
Late last year, Apple added a new tool to the Apple Watch arsenal—the Watch can now monitor and classify your cardio fitness, which is considered a very accurate predictor for your overall health. You need to be running iOS 14.3 on your iPhone and watchOS 7.2 on your Apple Watch to measure the cardiorespiratory fitness in terms of how much oxygen your body can use during exercise.
In India, you can buy three variants of the Apple Watch at this time. The feature set will vary according to model or generation, but the core strengths of fitness tracking remain consistent across irrespective of which Apple Watch you buy. The latest generation Apple Watch Series 6 is priced Rs 40,900 onwards while the Apple Watch SE is priced Rs 29,900 onwards. If you are okay with the older generation Apple Watch Series 3, those prices start Rs 20,900.