Making lifestyle changes and adjusting habits isn’t easy and we all need a little extra support. Unfortunately, we can’t always have our own personal cheerleaders by our side.
Avid runners and cyclists have been using Garmin watches and heart rate monitors to track calories and miles for years. More recently, wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit and Nike FuelBand entered the market, giving everyone from high school athletes to busy moms and dads who want to get back in shape a way to track their behaviors and learn to adjust them to reach their goals.
Enter the technological trailblazer – Apple. They’ve done it again with their first new product category since the iPad, and this time you can wear it. Out of all the Apple products, this one is most closely related to healthy living, so we wanted to give you the need-to-know about what could be your new favorite gadget.
But before you run out to your nearest Apple store, let’s dive a little deeper and determine if the $349 (or more) investment is right for you.
What sets the Apple Watch apart from the rest?
Habits are created over time and through consistency. The Apple Watch was designed to be a long-lasting companion and a source for critical behavioral change and developing healthier habits. Apple wants to encourage more people to take responsibility for their health. Now that’s something we can get on board with!
To achieve that goal, the watch is designed to be an “all-day fitness tracker and highly advanced sports watch in one device that you can wear all the time that tracks your movement and stores your data.” It gets to know you over time, giving specific reminders to keep you on track, and providing personalized, attainable goals.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says, “For years people have depended on strictly somebody else to determine their health. And now these devices empower people to manage and track their own health and fitness.”
Aside from the capabilities – have you seen one of these yet? They’re pretty snazzy!
We could go on about all the amazing features, but we’ve narrowed it down to our three favorites:
- Tracking movement, beyond intense physical exercise. Not only does the Activity app track the calories you burn and the miles you walk, but it also tracks how often you stand up during the day. Each time you stand, your progress ring will fill depending on how long you’re standing. Even better, it tells you to get up when you’ve been sitting for too long. Since rumor has it that sitting is the new smoking, we love this alert.
- Goal setting and accountability. The watch keeps track of all your movement, not just traditional exercise, and counts it toward your goals. You even get badges for achieving them… pretty cool, right?
- Human connection. A heart-rate sensor lets you share your heartbeat with other Apple Watch users and you can also send someone a quick drawing, like a heart or a tap pattern they’ll feel on their wrist to let them know they’re on your mind. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
There’s no doubt the Apple Watch provides a lot of great possibilities for personal transformation and connection, but we want to keep it real and let you know about a few of the downsides:
- Battery life. Like the iPhone, rumor has it that this will be an issue. Maybe yes, maybe no. Let’s see what happens.
- Eyestrain. The ultra small screen may be a strain for the eyes.
- Energy. Wearing an electronic device on your wrist – an area of thin skin and direct exposure – may affect the body’s natural energy field, leaving the wearer feeling drained or uncomfortable. Electronically-charged devices produce EMFs, or electromagnetic fields. As with most health-related science, the debate over the effects of EMFs is hot, and constantly shifting. In some cases, cell phones and other electronic devices may have led to tumors, nervous system disorders, and even brain cancer. Be conscious of your electronic use, take frequent tech-free days, and keep track of how you feel.
Technology is now playing a larger role than ever in supporting people to stay healthy and happy, but can it replace human support?
We believe that person-to-person support and connection is a key to health and happiness. That means supportive relationships (with others and yourself), a nurturing work environment, and positive co-workers.
That said, we also believe in embracing technology and that it can play a supporting role in achieving your health and wellness goals.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. If technology supports you in reaching your goals then it’s a valuable investment. If not, save your dollars for things that do support your goals, like organic food, a dinner with friends, a show with your children, or a much-needed massage!
Now it’s your turn to weigh in – do you think the Apple Watch will help you reach your health goals? Why or why not? Leave a comment below to join the conversation!