Opinion: What the New Apple Watch Means for Your Fitness

Somewhat lost in all the hype surrounding the latest iPhones is the next generation of the Apple Watch. Series 3 now brings aboard cellular capabilities that allow you to take phone calls without having your phone on you at all. But what has always appealed to me about the Watch are its health monitoring features, and the company doesn’t seem intent on stopping this burgeoning trend.

From the start, it seems as if Apple designed the hardware and software of the Apple Watch specifically to track sports, physical activity, and health. Series 3 now adds an altimeter so that you can see how high you go on your hiking, biking, or climbing expeditions, in addition to its already swim-proof design that allows you to keep it on in the pool or the lake, and its GPS so that you can continue to track your runs, bike rides, and swims.

Of course, other tracking features and applications have been revamped as well. You can still measure heart rate, sleep, and baseline physical activity (moving, standing, walking). You can still track calories and workouts with apps built for the watch. While the smartphone can be seen as a productivity tool for work, the Apple Watch can be seen as a productivity tool for health & fitness.

So how does the Apple Watch enhance your fitness?

An athlete wants to get stronger and faster to perform better in her sport; a busy father wants to shed inches off his waist and improve his well-being to keep up with his kids. The metrics that are most applicable to any training goal differ on a case-by-case basis; “sports performance” for the athlete and “fitness” for the father both need different metrics that may be hard to measure and quantify. I don’t expect the Watch to be able to measure pitching velocity—not yet at least. It can tell you a lot, but not everything, and it won’t guarantee your happiness and confidence.

However, the Watch comes damn close to helping you get there. It provides a ton of insight into your workouts and daily health. If you’re the expeditionary type who likes to hike and explore, it’s cool to see how far you’ve traveled, how high you’ve gone, and how your heart responded during those treks. Just keep in minds that these numbers aren’t everything, and that they won’t make or break you.

by Jeremy Lau