Category Archives: Apple Watch

Watch your heart rate, but don’t obsess about it – AHA

Keeping track of your heart rate is probably a good thing. Obsessing about it probably isn’t, according to the American Heart Association.

That’s one drawback of the increasing popularity of wearable devices that constantly monitor heart rates, said Dr. Tracy Stevens, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“I’ve had people suffer significant injuries when they’re trying to check their heart rate while exercising,” she said. “They take a hand off their treadmill and shoot right off the back and fall off.”

Even without a monitor, the preoccupation can have consequences.

“They’ll push too hard on their carotid arteries to check their pulse, which instigates a reflex that drops their blood pressure, and they pass out,” Stevens said. People shouldn’t put “too much emphasis on a number.”

A 2013 study published in the journal Heart of nearly 3,000 men in Denmark showed the risk of death increased by 16% for every 10 beats per minute increase in resting heart rate. But Stevens said she is far more focused on high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and other risk factors for heart disease.

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Filed under Apple Watch, Fitbit, heart rate, heart rate monitor, wearables

Turn your exercise into fun – Harvard study

Eat less, move more, live longer. Sometimes those simple rules are easier said than done. I am blessed that I love riding my bike. No one needs to get me riding every day. I can’t wait to get out there. That isn’t the case for most folks. Additionally, I use an Apple watch to track my activity and keep me aware of my goals . You can check out my Page – How my Apple watch is good for your health here. I hadn’t realized at the time that the watch turned my exercise into a game.

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Gabi and me riding in Chicago’s famous Bike the Drive ride.

Does exercise sometimes feel like an annoying chore? Adding a little friendly competition and other “gamification” strategies just might help, according to a new study.

The six-month-long study included 94 families who tracked their daily step counts with a wearable device or a smartphone. Just over half of the participants were women, and their average age was 55. Half were randomly chosen for the gamification arm of the study, which was designed to encourage collaboration, accountability, and team spirit. These families received small prizes tied to achieving daily and weekly step goals. They boosted their daily walking distance by almost a mile — more than twice the gains achieved by people who weren’t part of the competition. Continue reading

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Filed under Apple Watch, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, harvard school of public health

Latest Apple Watch developments

I have a Page on How my Apple Watch promotes my good health which enumerates various ways my Apple Watch helps me in my good health regimen, particularly exercise. You might want to check that out if you are considering one.

What I wanted to write about today is a recent development. Apple released an update for the Watch system along with the new version of the Apple Watch. The upgrade included several new watch faces. Below is an actual shot of the one I have on my Watch this morning.

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As you can see on the picture, in the upper right hand corner is an image of a runner. When I go out to walk my dog or ride my bike, I simply touch that image and select the exercise I am going to do. That Watch then keeps track of the exercise.

Here is an example of the information it gives me after walking my dog:

The Date
Starting time
Stopping time
Total distance
Total time elapsed
Active calories
Total calories
Average pace
Average heart beat
Elevation
Weather temp and humidity.

In the upper left hand corner you can see an image of a heart. If I want my heart rate, I simply press that icon and a beating heart appears on the watch face tracking my heart beat. I don’t know if you are impressed with the ease and simplicity of this, but as a user, I certainly am.

The last element is the three rings in the center.

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They represent my exercise for the day. The top one counts my calories expended exercising. I set a goal of 500 calories a day and the red circle begins moving aroundas I exercise. The second ring works the same way only it is counting how many minutes I exercised. My goal is 30 minutes a day. This screen shot was taken at 7:42 PM on Wednesday as the Watch reads. The final ring counts the number of times I stood up in the 12 hour period. It takes 12 to complete the ring. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?

As you can see from the screen shots, it also gives you the current weather report. You can substitute other information like reminders, etc.

The best news I can tell you about the Apple Watch is that prices have come down. Mine was a birthday present when they first came out. I have had it nearly two years now. It cost over $500. You can buy the same Watch for less than $300. I think it is an absolute steal at that price.

Don’t forget, I have only covered some of the fitness aspects of the Apple Watch, it connects with your iPhone and allows you to send/receive phone call and text messages as well and many other tasks.

You might want to see if you can get a quick email out to Santa for yours.

Best holiday wishes to you and  yours!

Tony

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My Apple Watch Promotes My Good Health

I wrote the following in the introduction to my first Apple Watch post, early this month: “I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.”

My smartphone is an iPhone 6 Plus.

apple_watch_2 I have posted about my new Apple Watch twice previously. The first time was about general health – How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy. And, the second went into workouts in general and biking in particular. How My Apple Watch Helps Me to Exercise.

I am thinking this will be the third and final write up of the Watch. I consider it ancillary to the first two. It uses the workout app, but it is a part of the daily routine of my life.

Here it is: I now count my dog walking as an outdoor walk workout. Previously it was just me taking the dog out so she could take care of her business. With the Watch, however, I can specify how far I want to walk, or just leave it open and let the Watch keep track. This has raised my awareness about my own physical activity. I always just thought of the walk as the dog’s exercise and latrine business. I was simply along to see that she got it done and returned home.

The Watch counts time and distance of the walk. With the usual Apple elegance, there is a three second countdown timer and then the actual time is counted in 100ths of a second. Clearly that is a much finer brush than I care to paint with.

Since I began plugging the walk into the Watch, I have become aware of how far we walk each time. I have set a minor goal of 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile on each excursion. As a result I now walk a total of 1.5 to 2.3 miles in three installments each day.

Here is the exact information that the Watch gives me after a walk:
Aug 1, 2015    3:54 PM – 4:48 PM 82F Partly cloudy
Total distance 0.86 MI
Total Time 0:33:39
Active calories 59
Resting calories 51
Avg pace 39″ 14″ per mile

I have never owned or used a Fitbit, Jawbone or any of the other motion trackers so I have no idea about their feedback.

Before I had the Watch the walks were shorter and less structured and I had no idea how far we went. So, this is another way that owning the Apple Watch has made my life more enjoyable and raised my awareness of this form of exercise that I had been careless about and taking for granted. I expected to enjoy the Watch giving me information on my physical activities. I didn’t expect it to change them as it has my dog walking.

Now it is a further source of exercise and exercise information for both myself and my dog. And because I write a blog on diet, exercise and living longer, I end up with a third post on the good thing about owning the Apple Watch.

Tony

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How My Apple Watch Helps Me to Exercise

This is the specific follow up to my previous post on how the Apple Watch keeps me healthy in general.

As regular readers know, my go to exercise is riding a bicycle so what I am going to tell you about is my first hand experience using the Apple Watch to ride my bike. I think it is fair to say, however, that since biking is aerobic, what I am about to tell you applies also to any aerobic exercise. In fact, the Watch offers the following types of exercise to choose, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycle, Stair Stepper, Outdoor Run, Indoor Walk, Indoor Run, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower. There is also an Other category.

First of all, these segments are from the Workout App on the Watch. I am going to offer the same link as last time and I recommend that you go there and watch the Guided Tour for the Workout App.

Here is the Watch face with the icons. The Workout one is the little green running man on the left.

Here is the Watch face with the icons. The Workout one is the little green running man on the left.

This page will give you a total of 21 different aspects of the Watch and explain their use. I am focusing on the Workout one today.

To start, I go to the screen with all the icons and tap on the one with the little figure running. This gives me the list that I enumerated. I select the Outdoor Cycle workout.

The watch then allows me to set a goal based on calories or time. I don’t evaluate my rides that way. It also offers for outdoor choices the option of setting a distance goal. That’s not my style. I just want to get on and ride. The Watch allows me to do that with the Open option which simply features a Start button. For the record, if I chose a distance to ride, the Watch would remember it and it will become the default next time. Very handy if that is your cup of tea.

When I press Start, the Watch goes into a typical Apple elegance move. It starts a three second countdown punctuated with beeps. The actual time keeping is done in 100ths of a second, way more detail than I need. Once I am enroute, it offers the following info: Pace, Distance, Heart rate.

In the upper right hand corner is a time metric. I can simply swipe to get my present elapsed time, the time of day or my speed.

As an old guy who takes breaks on his rides I am happy to report that I can do that and pause the watch at any time. I can restart the Watch when I restart my ride.

Because the Watch is paired with my iPhone, all of the data from my workouts is automatically stored in the Health App on my phone.

I hope this explanation hasn’t sounded too complicated. I haven’t felt that. I have used the app on all my bike rides since I bought the Watch. In addition, when I walk my dog, I included that as a Walking Workout and get the data on that activity, too.

One caveat I would like to add is that while the Watch can give you a heart rate readout as well as tell your average heart rate for the workout. You have the option of turning off the heart rate monitor as an energy saver.

Another aspect of the Watch that I need to mention is that is greatly simplifies my rides in that I don’t lose phone calls any more. Without the Watch, I have to stop the bike, dig out my phone from the rear pocket on my jersey, open the case and answer the call. By the time I accomplished this, I would often lose calls in this physical confusion.7d0d5df44b163aafb6b11fe751886da2

Now with the Watch, I simply pull over, raise the Watch and check the screen to see who is calling. So, I have the option of not answering. I can also scroll up and choose to send the caller a message, or simply answer it – on my wrist or on my iPhone. Readers old enough to remember the Dick Tracy comics will be reminded of Dick with his famous Wrist Radio. When I take a call on my Watch, I look (and feel) exactly like the legendary Dick Tracy talking into his wrist radio.

In summary, the Apple Watch has added a great deal of fun and also information to my daily bike rides. I hope I have told you enough to be able to translate it to your go to exercise.

As always, you are invited to share your experiences and ideas.

Tony

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How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy

I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

Because I am 75 years old, there is a certain ‘old man resistance’ to new stuff in me these days. Nonetheless, I have taken to my Apple Watch like a duck to water. Despite my enjoyment, I can not say that I have mastered all its intricacies yet by any means. Like a good relationship, it keeps unfolding in the most delightful ways.

The Activity App is the one of the keys keeping me healthy. I will write some aspects, but, to really learn about it, click the link to go through the guided tour. The link has info on 20 aspects of the Apple Watch. For this post, please scroll down to the Activity one (with the three concentric circles) and Click on  “Watch the Guided Tour.” Apple created the tour and demonstrates actual usage of the App beautifully.

To begin using the app, the Watch screen prompted me to fill in a brief form with sex, age, weight and height. Now my watch knows me.

Next I had to indicate my personal activity level. This is what I estimate my activity calorie expenditure for the day to be. The watch then suggested a goal for me which you can accept or adjust it to a level I prefer.

I can track my activity through the day by tapping the icon or actually put an icon on my Watch face and track it from there.

There are three rings on the Activity app. The Movement one, in red, shows active calories toward my daily goal. BTW, these are calories which I burn as I move throughout the day. It does not include resting calories from lack of movement, like just sitting. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 78 percent of us are not meeting our basic activity requirements.

The Exercise ring, in green, shows how many minutes of exercise I have done toward a goal of 30 minutes per day. This tracks movement, not just health club stuff. Playing with your kids or dancing counts on the Activity app.

Finally, the Stand ring, in blue, shows how many times out of twelve hours that I have stood for at least a minute. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting, please check out my Page – Do you know the Dangers of too much sitting? I have to confess that I am blown away by the fact that the Watch reminds me when I have been sitting too long. Many people are not even aware that prolonged sitting is bad.

The Stand reminder, by the way, is shown on the Watch screen and is accompanied by a little nudge on my wrist called a haptic. The Watch has sensors and other mechanisms on the part that touches your skin. That is where the haptic originates. It feels like someone gently poking your wrist.

In sum, the Activity App alone gives me the feeling that I am being watched over by a gentle and friendly robot that cares about me. Okay, I have a vivid imagination. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being reminded to stand and also viewing my activity through the day as well as at day’s end. I have a better consciousness of my daily activity progress as a result. Every Monday, the Watch notifies me of the previous week’s results and I have the option of tweaking my daily move goal for the coming week.

I called this post How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy, but of course, I am the one keeping me healthy by my commitment to good health. I think if you are a person less committed than I am, the Watch will be even more effective for you because it continually reminds you about your need to move. I would love to hear from readers who are also experiencing owning the Watch.

The next time I will continue this by going into the Workout App which gives me wonderful coverage and assistance on my bike riding. Of course, it also covers walking, running, indoor and out, elliptical, rower and more. So it is excellent for specific exercises compared with the Activity App which is more general movement.

Stay tuned.

Tony

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