Me and My Apple Watch


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So as you know from my earlier posts, I have used and blogged on FitBit, Garmin, Moov, Basis Watch (2nd post on Basis Watch), Google Glass and apps like BodBot as well as posted on issues with wearable trackers in general.  At the recent HiMSS conference I was given an Apple Watch for participating in a 20 minute meeting with a vendor.  Great gift by the way.  Anyhow, I have now worn this watch daily for about two months and have come to a few early conclusions.  So here we go:

The Apple Watch, like other Apple products is cool.  Packaging was neat and setting it up was fun and easy to do.  It linked quickly to my iPhone 5 and when that phone later died and I received an insurance replacement, linking it to the new phone was just as effortless. The battery life seems good, I usually recharge it while I sleep. I have only run out of power once, when I was camping and did not charge it overnight.

When setting up the Activity Tracker I originally stated that I was a “high intensity” workout person.  This gave me 700 plus calories to hit daily.  Unfortunately that quickly proved a bit too high and the watch began making recommendations to change the calorie goal after a few weeks.  I am now sitting (oops bad term) with a goal of close to 600 more calories per day. This has proven much more doable on a consistent basis.

  • The Apple Watch  is the best device I have used so far.  It’s way better than my Garmin Vivofit which I was wearing at the same time for the first few weeks.
  • The ease of tracking Activity including calories, time working out and pushing me to stand every hour is great, simple and gets results.

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  • When you do your first walk or ride outdoors using the Activity tracker it says to walk/ride for as I recall at least 20 minutes.  I think it uses this with the GPS to get a sense of stride length to figure distance based on steps taken. When I walk indoors on the treadmill, it now tracks walking/running distance right on target with the treadmill distance displayed. This is great.
  • I really appreciated that the Apple Watch had some specific workout trackers for what I do at the gym including elliptical, rower and stair-climber as well as using it for indoor and outdoor cycling and indoor and outdoor walking.

 

Apple Watch Activity Screen

  • I no longer use Bodbot as a fitness tracker.  It became redundant and time-consuming to log activities compared to the ease of tracking with the Apple Watch.  I also found that when I opened the Bodbot app it would not show the current days workout unless I scrolled back to yesterday’s workout and then scrolled forward to today. The app also crashed during workouts, often during the most inopportune times like when I was in a plank and it was tracking my time. I still workout based on what I learned from Bodbot, but now when I’m lifting weights, stretching or doing other activities, I use the “Other” tracking feature on he Apple Watch.
  • Counting steps seems fairly accurate and once again my Garmin Vivofit that I was wearing at the same time consistently showed 300 or more steps higher at the end of the day due to its counting of non-step activity.  After 4 weeks with the Watch, I stopped using the Garmin Vivofit.
  • The accuracy of the calorie tracker on the Watch is uncertain as the elliptical will often show double what the Apple Watch shows, but I can’t tell which is wrong or if both are incorrect. On the treadmill and stair-climber they track very closely.  I have heard that the calorie counters on fitness machines are not great although I do enter weight and age before starting.
  • I used the Outdoor Cycling tracker for a recent mountain bike ride through the trails at a local park.  It was really cool to see the map as well as displays of speed and other measures when finished.  Racing a car on the way back and seeing that I exceeded 25 mph was cool too.
  • The heart rate tracker is a nice feature and although I’m not sure how correct it is from a clinical perspective, it does give me some sense of the relationship of my heart rate to time of day and during my workout.

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There is a lot of information in HealthKit based on the Apple Watch, I am still just diving into this area but here are a few screen shots.
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What it still needs:

  1. I don’t have the best hand/finger dexterity so having to push the pin into the strap and then thread it through the band has proven difficult for me. I’ve gotten better and it’s probably just me.
  2. The workout types needs to add more options, perhaps weights, stretches and other basic categories to account for different workouts.  I typically start the “Other” activity when I begin my set and pause it when I end the set, only tracking during actual activity.
  3. More feedback from the watch as to time in the activity and perhaps motivational messages.  It does vibrate when half way through or completing an activity that has a set time or calorie target. I also like the reminder to stand during the day and will often get up and walk around just to get that minute of activity.

I’m sure there are a number of apps I could download to the watch and use them to track other activities. Guess its time to start looking.

Overall The Apple Watch is now my go to device and obviously it has  a ton of other useful features (phone, calendar, email, messages, maps and a multitude of apps) that are helpful for my work and daily life. I am extremely pleased with the Apple Watch and think it can be used successfully to motivate and engage people in their health.

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