The Apple Watch on your wrist is more than just an extension of your iPhone. It’s a pretty potent fitness tool, with capabilities ranging from continuous heart rate tracking to auto-sync with cardio gym gear. Oh, and a host of workout apps under the hood too. Sounds good enough for your journey towards getting fit, doesn’t it? Well, just as long as you know your way around the device. Read on for a few tips to help you make the most of your Apple Watch.

 

Get Up-to-Date

It seems odd to start with a reminder from tech support. But hey — You’re doing yourself a massive disservice by not keeping your device up-to-date! Apple are constantly rolling out new features and bug fixes via watchOS updates, bringing you closer and closer to the perfect smartwatch experience. The update process itself is fairly straightforward, and you can always head to Apple Support if you run into problems.

It would help if you also tried to keep your personal information current. This is what the device uses to calculate metrics for your daily activity and such. Updating your details should be a straightforward process, once again, so try to do it as often as you can.

 

Set Goals

Tracking your activity levels is all well and good. But if you’re always reflecting on what you did today, there’s no desire to make any meaningful improvement. You’ve got to keep raising the bar with new challenges every now and then — this’ll spawn healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine.

In short, you should be taking full advantage of the three rings on your activity app:

-Move: The red outer ring provides a general sense of how much you move around each day, based on the number of active calories burnt. The Activity app allows you to change this figure directly from the Watch, which is really handy when it comes to setting targets.

-Exercise: The green middle band tracks how many minutes of brisk activity you complete each day.

-Stand: The blue inner ring offers a visual indication of how frequently you have stood up after prolonged sitting/reclining. The app will nudge you to get on your feet once every hour and move around for a minute or so.

The Apple Watch doesn’t allow users to adjust goals for the ‘Exercise’ and ‘Stand’ rings, but there are creative ways to work around that. You could, for instance, aim to earn all your exercise ring credits earlier each day. Or walk a couple of dozen steps every hour instead of just ‘Standing’. Just make sure that your goals are set at a realistic level (just high enough to provide a challenge without feeling overwhelming).

 

Get Sweaty

Running, swimming, rowing, HIIT, snowboarding, or even yoga — the Apple Watch can track it all. Better yet, it can sense when you begin a workout and shoot you an alert asking if you want to start tracking. It’ll even give you retroactive credit for the time you’ve been exercising before you activated the tracker.

It’s an understatement to say that the apple watch is a powerhouse when it comes to tracking workouts. But you’ve got to make sure you are making the most of its capabilities:

-Stats and metrics: The device will let you choose a specific goal for the session (hit x kilometers, calories burnt, or a set time frame). You can also change the metrics displayed during your workout using the companion app on your iPhone.

-Running Auto Pause: This will come in handy during your runs. Whether on the road, track, or treadmill, the feature will pause tracking when you stop. Just remember to activate it on your watch before you get going.

There are many other features that could come in handy for your workouts, including a VO2 Max tracker and the ability to chain workouts together (triathletes will love this). But at the end of the day, what matters is the ability to keep track of what you’re doing, gain useful metrics, and use them to make progress. It would thus be a good idea to choose an option that best suits your activity whenever you use the Workout app.

 

Track Your Zzzzs

It is easy to overlook the impact that sleep has on your wellbeing. But poor and/or insufficient sleep can derail even the best-laid fitness routines. On the other hand, getting your eight hours worth every night can set you on the right track towards achieving your objectives.

It’s a shame that the Apple Watch doesn’t offer any sleep tracking functions as yet. But a handful of sources have suggested that a sleep mode in the works. Perhaps it will be included in a not-so-distant WearOS update — who knows?

In the meantime, there are plenty of 3rd-party apps you could use to improve your sleep quality, including Sleep++, Auto Sleep, and Pillow. Each one of them is capable of monitoring your sleep to reveal areas of potential improvement. For further insights into your slumber habits, invest in a dedicated sleep tracker like Beddit, and pair it with your Apple Watch.

 

Share the Workload

The journey towards getting fit can be pretty arduous, particularly when you’re trying to go it alone. So maybe it’s time you teamed up with a few like-minded pals. You’ll be surprised at how huge a burden will be lifted off your shoulders.

The Activity app on your iPhone has a Sharing section where you can add friends. From there, use your watch to challenge them to weekly contests, track their progress, and post comments to keep them motivated. Or even have a dig at them — it’s your call.