Health and Sports with your iPhone and Apple Watch: Everything you can and should know

The Apple Watch is a fantastic device that little by little has been geared towards health, training measurement, heart constants in our body and after adding new sensors, also other important metrics such as blood oxygen saturation. However, we are not aware of all that we can get to know thanks to the health functionalities of the Apple Watch and that is why I want to talk to you about all of them here. Ready to get the most out of your device?

Let’s start with the native health and sports functionalities (or physical activity) that our Apple Watch brings along with the iPhone and we will later do a small tour of some of the best third-party apps that offer differential things to what we have native in watchOS.

Health Features (iPhone)

The two main places we should go to check the aspects of health and physical activity on our iPhone is in two native apps:

In the Fitness app, we have a complete panel that shows us our physical activity and movement data. You just have to scroll down when you open it to see a summary of your last workouts (not only physical, but also Mindfulness) and the interesting trend section, where you can consult each of them in detail for the last 12 months and a daily average for each day of the week. Always comparing the last 3 months with the previous 9.

This fitness app also includes the Apple Fitness+ service in the middle tab, where you can contract it directly for €9.99/month or with the annual plan of €79.99/year. If you have hired it, here You can search for training of all kinds: kickboxing, meditation, yoga, pilates, HIIT, core, strength, bike, etc.. If you do any training through Fitness+, a summary will be added in the same way as the rest of the training you do with the Apple Watch to the main Fitness screen and you can enter to see the details.

On the other hand we have the Health app, which stores a bunch of metrics divided into various categories including a part similar to Fitness with activity, body measurements, monitoring of the menstrual cycle, hearing, heart metrics, medication, mindfulness, mobility, nutrition, breathing, sleep and much more.

We can add all these metrics manually for our tracking or if we have the Apple Watch, many of them will be completed automatically with the passing of the days and as it obtains details for each one of them. Other accessories that have access to the Health app and can record data automatically can also be used.

Health features (Apple Watch)

While the iPhone serves as a “viewer” and storage of all health and physical activity data, the Apple Watch is our best ally to obtain data for each of the metrics described in the previous section. It does it automatically (and what a pleasure that is) so wearing it and enjoying it we forget to fill in data manually. Some of the best metrics that the Apple Watch gives us are the following.

Notifications for high or low heart rate

A very important functionality for many people who cannot (for health reasons) exceed certain beats per minute. If what you want is that your Apple Watch notifies you when your heart pumps at a certain rate (both high and low) or stays in that rhythm for more than 10 minutes (at rest), all you have to do is:

  1. open the watch app on the iPhone
  2. Go down in the menu and select Heart
  3. In section Freq. high heart rate, choose the keystrokes to which we want to be notified
  4. In section Freq. low heart ratechoose the keystrokes to which we want to be notified

Irregular heart rhythm notifications

We can activate this functionality so that it notifies us (according to the description itself) cWhen Apple Watch identifies heart rhythms that may be atrial fibrillation or not considered normal. This functionality may not be available in some regions and is tied to ECG availability in your region.

Heart rate notification on Apple Watch

To activate it and be able to have it operational, you just have to follow these steps:

  1. open the watch app on the iPhone
  2. Go down in the menu and select Heart
  3. Activate the toggle “irregular rhythm”

ECG and atrial fibrillation

As I mentioned in the previous section, the ECG must be active in your region in order to have these two functionalities available. This will depend on the approval of the region’s health authorities and Apple is expanding the number of regions in which it is available over time.

Despite atrial fibrillation is also monitored in the background As indicated in the previous section, when performing an ECG it also gives you an indication at that time.

To get an ECG you just have to go to the dedicated app on the Apple Watch and follow the steps indicated. Subsequently, You can see the result in the Health app on your iPhone, in the explore section, Heart and Electrocardiogram.

Aerobic Capacity and Recovery

Apple bases its designation of aerobic capacity on VO2 max.. It does it in the following way: It is the measurement of your VO2 max, which refers to the maximum oxygen capacity that your body is capable of consuming during exercise. It is a very powerful measure for defining your overall physical health and predicting your long-term health..

On the other hand, aerobic recovery is less well known, but the Apple Watch is able to measure it just the same and we can see it in the summary of any training we do. This measure is none other than the number of beats per minute that you decrease after exercising (HRR in English: Heart Rate Recovery) and measures how quickly your heart responds to the nervous system. The faster you lower your heart rate, the better your recovery will be.

HRV or variation in your heart rate

Heart rate variation is automatically picked up by your Apple Watch but If you want to check the data collected from this variable, you can only do so through the Health application on the iPhone. You can do it directly in the categories part, in the Heart section.

However, What does this HRV refer to? Well, this variable measures how the time interval between two heartbeats changes. It is measured in milliseconds and it makes more sense if we see it as a trend than as a point value, since it can vary from one day to the next. This variable is considered one of the most important in the world of health not only to know your physical condition but it can also give indications of mortality (and without going into much detail since we are not experts and always in medical matters it is better to have a specialist).

In sports matters, HRV is used to better understand when your body is ready for stronger efforts and training or when you need a break. Many third-party apps on the Apple Watch use it for this very purpose.

Basic and historical information on the heart

From the Apple Watch itself, we have the possibility of accessing some of the data recorded from our heart. To do this, we just have to go to the heart rate app (the icon is red with the silhouette of a heart inside). Once we are inside, we can see different information just by sliding or turning the crown of the Apple Watch to scroll the screen:

  • current heart rate (always updated when opening the application) and information on the last measurement at the bottom of the application.
  • resting heart rate (average daily data)
  • Average heart rate walking (average daily data)
  • Average heart rate running (average daily data)

in all of them you can click and access a small graph where you will be able to see the pulsations that you have had for each of the modalities throughout the hours of the day.

This information You can also get to see it on the iPhonesearching the menu for Heart and looking for these same categories with the same names.

sleep monitoring

Apple included native sleep monitoring with the Apple Watch a long time ago, but to obtain much more data and, above all, to understand it and that they give you an analysis of how you have slept and help you focus your day based on your state of health, It is highly recommended to use some third party application. Some of our favorites are:

  • Gentle Streak: It gives you information about your sleep, your physical activity and also allows you to monitor all your workouts with your Apple Watch app in a very visual way. It is also compatible with Live Activities. Undoubtedly, one of the most complete apps.
  • AutoSleep: Focused on your sleep phases, With a very simple and visual interface, it gives you all the information about how you slept
  • Others: Sleep Tracker, Pillow, Sleep+. You just have to find the one that best suits your needs and tastes.

We have some very powerful devices between us to be able to achieve understand, care for and improve our health with them. Let’s make the most of them.