Fitness and Health Features on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch For Health and Fitness

I've used the Apple Watch since its release in 2014. It's a wearable device that I use to check my heart rate at anytime with its heart rate sensor, log movement with step counts, calorie expenditure and total body activity with its accelerometer throughout the day as well as useful reminders to reduce sitting time and prompting you to stand too. The workout and activity apps do a pretty good job at letting me know on a day-to-day basis how active I've been.

The new Apple Watch additions will make it easier to log workouts, expand the tracking capabilities, and offer wearers a chance to compete to see who is the most active.

The Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled at the company's 12 Sept iPhone XS launch event. The new Apple Watch Series 4 is redesigned from last year's version with a larger screen, upgraded internals with new fitness and health features. Prices start at £399/$399 (40mm) or £429/$429 (44mm).  The Series 3 watch will still be available but has reduced in price and is available from £279/$279.

The Series 4 has:

  • A new edge-to-edge screen with rounded corners

  • GPS and cellular options (available in series 3 too)

  • 30 per cent larger screen area than the previous versions

  • 40mm and 44mm cases (up from 38mm and 42mm sizes)

  • Finishes available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey aluminium, or Gold, Silver, and Space Black Stainless Steel (similar to previous versions)

  • 18 hour all day battery life, with outdoor workout time for 6 hours (same as the previous versions)

  • Digital crown with haptic feedback

  • 50 per cent louder speaker

  • New 64-bit S4 chip that's up to two times faster than the Series 3 32-bit chip.

  • New accelerometer, altimeter and gyroscope tech is up to 8 times faster

  • Automatic fall detection, which delivers an alert to initiate an emergency call. If you're immobile for more than a minute, the Watch uses the SOS feature to call for you.

Apple Watch Series 4

For those with older watches, I currently wear the Series 3, the update to the Watch OS, Watch OS5 offers the following new features:

Auto Workout Detection

Watches running watchOS 5 will automatically track movement and physical activity. If you start doing a workout tracked by the Watch such as running, the device will detect and alert you to set up a formal session. Once you stop moving you will get a prompt to remind you to stop tracking. It even gives you credit for the exercise you’ve already done. 

Movement Competition

Compete with another Apple Watch owner over a a week-long period to see who can be the most active based on Activity Rings goals. You earn points based on the percentage of your Activity rings that you close. With stand, move and exercise objectives. You'll get prompts and extra reminders to move from the Apple Watch, to help you beat the competition.

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New Workouts

New Workout tracking options on the Apple Watch include Yoga and Hiking. For example Hiking will track elevation in real-time. There are now 12 trackable activities in watchOS 5 including walking, running, cycling, elliptical, rower, stair climber, HIIT, swimming and wheelchair. You can also name and categorise other workouts too.

New Running Features

Runners can now track steps per minute (cadence) for both indoor and outdoor runs and walks, and set pacing targets for outdoor runs that will help to keep them moving within their target pace. A new rolling pace metric will also allow runners to track their progress. Choose a target pace and Apple Watch can let you know if you’re behind or ahead of where you want to be.

RECOVERY HEART RATE

You can see your recovery heart rate on the watch face after a workout. This captures your heart rate one minute and two minutes after a workout completes. This is one indication of a healthy heart, how quickly you can recover from physical activity.

WILL I UPGRADE TO SERIES 4 FROM SERIES 3?

There isn’t enough of an improvement to justify an upgrade from series 3 to series 4 in my opinion, but I’m certainly looking forward to installing the watchOS 5 update to utilise these new fitness features on my current watch.