What I love about wearable devices isn't just that they make great fashion accessories, but also that they make health tips and tools accessible to just about anyone, anywhere. And you don't need a whole separate fitness tracker; if you have an Apple Watch, tons of health features are already available right at your fingertips. The wearable technology just keeps getting better and better, too, which means there are loads of ways you probably didn't realize your Apple Watch can help keep you healthy.
Interestingly, one of the biggest U.S. health insurers, Aetna, is now going to be providing discounts to some customers on the Apple Watch to encourage them to use new health and fitness-related apps on the device. And if you've already got an Apple Watch, just a few of the health apps you can download and use include Pocket Yoga, which provides timed yoga practice sessions, and Hello Heart, which monitors your blood pressure.
Even more exciting is the news that Apple is working on a couple of other pre-installed health apps for the Apple Watch, including a sleep pattern tracker, that could make diagnoses more effective and the wearer's health easier to predict. What I love about health trackers is that they give you concrete data that helps you decide whether you should get something checked out — something which is all the more important when you consider that many Americans avoid going to the doctor, according to a recent Gallup poll, for reasons that might range from the cost to outright fear.
And for those who are monitoring symptoms for existing concerns, taking care of your body doesn't (and shouldn't) have to be a hassle. Here are some cool ways your Apple Watch already keeps you healthy:
1. It Tracks Your Heart Rate
Yep, that's right. Your Apple Watch comes with a sensor that measures a person's heart rate, which you can also use when you're working out. I wonder what the heart would look like if you stood next to your crush?
2. It Tells You When To Exercise
Your Apple Watch can also act as an accountability partner by reminding you to stand up and walk around every 60 minutes or so (plus, it tracks how often you get moving). This is particularly great for those of you who have a nine-to-five desk job. No more feeling guilty once you realize you've been sitting for five hours straight.
3. It Keeps All Your Health Data Together
The watch also connects all of Apple's primary health apps together. This includes HealthKit, which stores all of your health data, and ResearchKit, which allows other people such as medical specialists to monitor your data (with permission, of course). It's pretty handy to have everything consolidated in one place.
4. It Can Help You Keep Track Of Your Fuel Supply
Not that you are the number of calories you eat by any means, but it's still helpful to know how much fuel your body is burning in a single day. The activity app that comes on your Apple Watch lets you know how many calories you've burned from exercising. This works well with any food diary you may also be keeping. Just remember, though, calorie count doesn't necessarily line up with your overall health and well-being.
5. It Helps You Set Health Goals
An important part of adopting healthier habits is to set small, achievable target goals and make sure you meet them. And the Apple Watch helps you do that. For instance, you can set goals for how much exercise you want to clock in each day (the recommended default is 30 minutes). You can also set calorie goals, movement goals, basically all the health goals. And that's pretty awesome.