In my last post where I wrote about my biking experience and fitness tracking, I said something to the effect that although my smartwatch was lacking a few features, it would suffice. Well, not too long after saying that, I went out and purchased an Apple watch.
I waited a while before I wrote about the watch because I wanted to get more familiar with some of the features. There are still a host of features I have no clue about, but I know what I need to know. In other words, I’ve found my Apple watch comfort zone. As I learn more about different features maybe my comfort zone will grow but as it stands now, I’m at my sweet spot.
A Little About the Apple Watch
I decided to get the series 7, 45mm watch without cellular. The 45mm at that time was the largest watch face available. Since then, Apple has come out with the series 8 and a 50mm watch face. I’m thinking 50mm would be like having Big Ben on the wrist because the 45mm is plenty big.
These mature eyes like larger screens, as such, I thought the 40mm would be too small. However, I’m pleasantly surprised at the clarity of the 45mm screen. I probably could’ve gotten away with the smaller 40mm watch face. But I decided to err on the side of caution.
Also, another cautionary purchase for the new watch was a screen protector. I figured if I was going to spring for an Apple watch, I might as well protect the investment.
Why an Apple Watch
The fact that it keeps accurate time did not even make the list of reasons why I bought the watch. I bought it because I wanted to better track my fitness. More specifically, my biking mileage, pace, and history. What I got, however, is a watch that my brother jokingly calls, “Doctor Watch”.
This watch has told me more about my health than my last doctor visit. As far as biking goes, it gives me the information I wanted which includes:
- Calories burned
- Average heart rate
- Map of the route
It also tracks biking trends, weather conditions, and elevation for each ride. There’s a host of additional biking information, but for now, the metrics listed above are all I need to know. Maybe later on I’ll delve deeper.
And it Tracks More Stuff
Here’s a quick list of other things the watch tracks. It’s not a complete list, but just enough stat tracking for you to get the idea:
- Heart rate: Both resting and active
- Heart rate variability
- Blood oxygen level
- Daily step count
- Standing hours
- Walking/Running distance
- Step length
- Walking speed
- Walking Asymmetry
- Cardio fitness
- Flights of stairs climbed and the speed, both up and down
- Weight, body fat percentage, and BMI *
*(I have a smart scale that transfers this info to the iPhone)
Of the seemingly never-ending list of trackable metrics, there’s one that has intrigued me, and that is Walking Asymmetry. It not only intrigued me but impressed me with its accuracy.
My Walking Asymmetry Story
When Espurelda (my right hip spur) or Queen Sciatica (my left hip) begins to clear their respective throats, my gait is affected. The watch picks up the gait change. For example, I had a minor hip stiffness and the watch registered asymmetry of about 1.2%. I worked my usual magic and got things back on track. Once back on track, the watch asymmetry went down to 0%.
Recently, after hoisting my ever so adorable and well-fed four-year-old granddaughter and carrying her on my hips, I knew I had aggravated things. The next day I was a bit stiff and the watch knew it. It registered a 5% Espurelda asymmetry (it didn’t know the spur’s name but it did say it was the right side). I knew I was off-kilter before looking at the watch, but it was pretty accurate.
Five percent is not earth-shattering, but for a person who has worked hard to keep things in alignment, 5% is a lot. This happened just a few days ago and I’m still working on getting things even again. As of today, my asymmetry registers at 3.3%. I should have it back to 0% by the weekend (provided I allow my able-bodied granddaughter to walk).
Too Much Information
Granted, the watch offers way more information than I need on a daily basis but what it has done is allow me to track certain health parameters. I can honestly say that I am fitter now than when I purchased the watch a month and a half ago (it has only been a month and a half, but I do feel better).
Since buying the watch, I’ve increased and varied my workouts. I’ve also increased my water intake. Certain numbers made me realize that my body was chronically dehydrated. It’s amazing how proper hydration does much to improve workouts.
Numbers Junkie vs Non-Numbers Junkie
The Apple Watch isn’t for everyone. Those very same metrics and stats that got me all jazzed up about getting the watch are the exact same metrics and stats that made my brother decide not to get the watch. There’s just too much information. I understand where he’s coming from.
There are some metrics that I did not enable. For example, the ECG and irregular heartbeat notifications. No thank you. As long as my heart is beating and I can bike, play with the grandkids, and feel good, that’s good enough. No need to give this anal-retentive person something else to be obsessed about.
Apple Watch – A Mini iPhone
Since I’m old school and still have a landline, my phone is rarely near me when I’m at home. As such, I’m not the person to text in an emergency, because I usually don’t know where the phone is.
However, the watch serves as a mini cell phone. It’s convenient for when I’m playing music and need to turn the volume up/down or mute. No need to run around the house looking for the phone to control the music.
One of my favorite features is the timer. I can set several timers at a time and I do so frequently. I use a timer for watering the flowers, a timer for the ice pack on the lower back, a 4-minute timer for the French-pressed coffee, and yet another timer for holding the 2-minute yoga pose. I’m in timer heaven!
Oh, almost forgot, with it, I can answer the phone and receive/respond to texts (I rarely do this on the watch).
Let’s Talk About the Activity Rings
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about those lovely colorful activity rings. The rings give me a snapshot of how I’m doing with my physical activity for the day. All I have to do is glance at my watch and I can see whether I’m on point or not. Closing the circle of those rings gives me a small sense of accomplishment.
The rings represent stand hours, calories burned, and exercise minutes. The stand hours ring is the most misleading and the easiest for me to accomplish. It requires me to stand for at least a minute every hour. I’ve never not closed that ring.
Calories burned is the next easiest ring to complete whether I’ve exercised or not. I usually close that ring 6 out of 7 days.
As far as the exercise ring goes, I don’t exercise daily, but do manage to close that ring at least 3 to 4 times a week. The other days it’s partially closed.
Enough is Enough
Well, enough about the Apple watch. Suffice it to say, having it has helped me to make healthy improvements in my life. This piece of technology far exceeds my expectations!
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Wow, Felicia. I had no idea that an Apple watch has so many functions. About two years ago, my son gifted me with a Fitbit Versa2 against my tech-challenged wishes. It took about six months (and frequent prodding from him) for me to begin using it regularly for exercise and 12 months for me to get accustomed to some of the features; I still don’t use them all. However, my Fitbit and I have become good friends(LOL) and now you have me eyeing an Apple watch. Keep biking!
I’ve got a long, long way to go before I use all of the features on this watch. Having said that, I’m glad I bought it. It’s keeps me motivated to close the rings and get my workouts done.
Many moons ago, I had a Fitbit pedometer, the kind that you clip on a belt. I liked it, but it eventually stopped working. When I looked to buy a replacement, I found the cost had doubled. That annoyed me so I bought an inexpensive smartwatch that seemed to do the trick…until it didn’t.
Once you start using these things, you get hooked.
If the Fitbit works for you, stick with it. But, if you want to come over to the dark side and get an Apple watch, go for it! I’m a huge fan.