How the Ap­ple Watch can im­prove your health

Keith Bur­ton’s weight-loss guide for Ap­ple Watch own­ers of­fers tips and app rec­om­men­da­tions to help you get into shape

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Wel­come to our guide to get­ting into shape with the Ap­ple Watch. We dis­cuss the best apps to in­stall on your watch (and how best to use the de­vice’s ex­cel­lent pre­in­stalled apps as part of a fit­ness regime), and of­fer some tips that will help you boost your fit­ness in a safe and healthy way.

Mon­i­tor your wa­ter in­take

A reg­u­lar in­take of wa­ter will rapidly im­prove your skin, flush tox­ins and take the edge of your ap­petite. Some­times when you think you’re hun­gry you’re ac­tu­ally thirsty. Just tak­ing wa­ter alone is a huge step in im­prov­ing your health. We use WaterMin­der (£2.99 from to reg­u­late and pro­mote reg­u­lar daily wa­ter in­take; this has an Ap­ple Watch ver­sion that nudges you to drink at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

Con­trol your calo­rie in­take

Con­trol­ling calo­rie in­take is far eas­ier than wor­ry­ing about nutri­tion lev­els. Get calo­rie in­take un­der con­trol first and worry about bal­anc­ing out your nutri­tion when you’ve reached the point where calo­rie in­take is un­der con­trol.

If you want to lose weight, calo­rie con­trol is far more im­por­tant than ex­er­cise. Plus, ex­er­cise will be eas­ier once the weight is off. Don’t ex­pect to lose loads of weight through ex­er­cise alone, as ex­er­cise will also drive you to con­sume more calo­ries to re­place ex­pended en­ergy.

Con­trol your calo­ries to lose weight and un­der­stand that ex­er­cise is there to help you strengthen your body, mus­cles, heart and lungs. We rec­om­mend MyFit­nessPal (free with in-app pur­chases from to con­trol calo­ries and nutri­tion.

Step count­ing and ex­er­cise

Mo­tion 24/7 (99p from­u7p) is a good sleep tracker and step counter for the iPhone, but the sec­ond part of that equa­tion was quickly taken over by the Ap­ple Watch when it ar­rived.

Fill­ing our rings on the Ap­ple Watch each day has be­come a nat­u­ral part of my day. My Ac­tiv­ity ring is now set to chal­lenge me to burn 600 ac­tive calo­ries per day. That’s lit­er­ally dou­ble what it was the day we got our Watch.

As of writ­ing this, we’ve closed all three cir­cles every day with­out fail for 732 days in a row.

Ac­tiv­ity streak

The Ap­ple Watch has two pre­in­stalled apps that help you with ex­er­cise: Ac­tiv­ity (which cov­ers all of your day-to-day move­ments, mo­ti­vat­ing you to fill in the rings il­lus­trated above) and Work­out (which deals with ded­i­cated car­dio ex­er­cise ses­sions, of­fer­ing sep­a­rate work­outs for run­ning, cy­cling, swim­ming and so on).

Bear in mind that while the Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2 has GPS and can there­fore pro­vide ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ments when you run, the first-gen and Se­ries 1 mod­els do not. They will pig­gy­back on the GPS of an as­so­ci­ated iPhone if it’s close enough, but oth­er­wise they have to guess the dis­tance based on your num­ber of steps and the in­for­ma­tion they have about your stride length.

Each time you ‘train’ the watch by tak­ing it out run­ning with an iPhone, it gets a bit smarter at guess­ing dis­tances when the iPhone’s not there, so it’s worth putting in a bit of time to help it learn about your run­ning style.

Fi­nally, con­sider pick­ing up some wire­less head­phones (see our round-up on page 33), so you can lis­ten to mu­sic di­rectly from your watch while out run­ning.

Heart mon­i­tor­ing

To the Watch, we’ve added HeartWatch (£2.99 from fave. co/2q3l4uf), which acts as a su­perbly de­tailed heart mon­i­tor and sleep mon­i­tor. It will warn you if your heart­beat gets too high or too low and en­ables you to fol­low trends so you’ll get early warn­ing of any po­ten­tial heart prob­lems long be­fore any­thing bad hap­pens.

Case study: Los­ing 50 pounds with an Ap­ple Watch

With health be­com­ing the next growth sec­tor for tech­nol­ogy, this writer de­cided to carry out an ex­per­i­ment on my­self to see if apps and de­vices re­ally could help us. I’d been 18 stone for far too long and at the age of 45 I could feel that weight start­ing to af­fect my joints and bones.

Know­ing the Ap­ple Watch was on the hori­zon (this was a cou­ple of years ago), and rea­son­ing it was go­ing to be a health wear­able, I set about cu­rat­ing some use­ful apps for my iPhone in prepa­ra­tion. Af­ter much ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, we set­tled on WaterMin­der, MyFit­nessPal and Mo­tion 24/7.

Over the course of my jour­ney (2.5 years) I’ve lost 50lbs and kept it off. You lose weight not by di­et­ing but by chang­ing your diet, and that’s what apps and de­vices en­able you to do. To mark a year of hav­ing my Ap­ple Watch, and hav­ing re­gained health and hap­pi­ness, I sent Tim Cook him­self an email as I’d heard he reads cus­tomer emails just as Steve Jobs used to. He was kind enough to send me an email back that day con­grat­u­lat­ing me for my achieve­ment.

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