How your iPhone and Apple Watch can improve your health

Apple Watch Ultra 2. (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Did you know that your iPhone and Apple Watch come with built-in tools to help you improve your health? Whether you’re focused on exercise, recovery or mental health, your tech gadgets can help you live your healthiest life. As an added perk, your iPhone and Apple Watch are waterproof and dust-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them when you’re breaking a sweat.

Stay connected while you hit the trails

If you exercise in the great outdoors, your iPhone can help you keep in touch while you’re off the grid. The newest iPhones allow you to share your location with family and friends. You can also call for emergency services using satellite technology in areas where you don’t have cell service. The Apple watch also comes with fall detection, allowing you to contact emergency services easily if you’re hurt. Fall detection will automatically call for help if it detects that you’re immobile.

[Related: Five ways to use your cell phone to unplug from the internet]

Cycle without distractions

The new Apple Watch iOS10 syncs with your iPhone, so you don’t have to risk losing your balance to look at your wrist while pedaling. Simply secure your phone to your handlebars, and you can see all your metrics on your phone while you bike.

Track your movement and cardio stats

Your iPhone and Apple Watch can track your progress in getting the daily recommended 7,500-10,000 steps a day. However, these devices go beyond being simple pedometers. Your iPhone can help monitor your form by tracking symmetry, steadiness and double support time (the duration of both feet in contact with the ground) as you walk.

As you walk or run with your devices, you can identify trends in your fitness journey over time. Here are some features you can use to monitor your health stats as you work to get in better shape:

  • Cardio Fitness: Your Apple watch monitors your VO2 Max — the amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. Your VO2 Max stats indicate your overall heart and lung health and should improve as you continue to do cardio-focused activities such as walking, running, dancing and biking.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch (Apple)
  • Cardio Recovery: This feature measures the change in your heart rate within one minute after you stop exercising. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a good heart rate recovery is 18 beats or higher. This number may go up as you get in better cardio shape.

  • Resting Heart Rate: Your resting heart rate represents your heartbeats when you’re relaxed and resting. A healthy resting heart rate for most adults is between 60-100 beats per minute, but an athlete may have a resting heart rate as low as 30 beats per minute. You may notice resting heart rate decrease as you strengthen your cardiac muscles over time through exercise.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch (Apple)

Practice mindfulness

Taking a few minutes out of your day to breathe, relax and check in with your emotional state has amazing health benefits. Practicing mindfulness can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, lower your blood pressure and increase quality of sleep. The Apple Watch Mindfulness app leads you through exercises to reflect on a mindful theme or do a breathing exercise. You can also set up notifications to remind you to take a few minutes for mindfulness throughout your day.

Stay entertained while you work out

Download your favorite music or podcasts and turn them on the next time you hit the gym or the track. Listening to music while exercising can help your endurance and reduce perceptions of fatigue by up to 12%. Podcasts can also help keep you engaged and allow you to multitask by learning something new while you power through your workouts.

[Related: How to prolong the life of your new iPhone]

The iPhone 15 boasts all-day battery life, so you can keep yourself entertained without draining your phone. Make sure you stay safe — keep the volume low to protect your ears and consider exercising with one earbud out if you’re running or cycling outside.

Improve your sleep

We’ve all heard that getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep a night is crucial for your health, but the quality of your sleep is just as important. As you snooze, your body will cycle through several sleep stages that help you recover from the day and maintain your health. You can use the Watch iOS 10 Sleep app to track the duration of each sleep stage. The app monitors the time you spend in REM, core and deep sleep, and will let you know how many times you wake up during the night.

In addition to monitoring your sleep quality, the Sleep app can help you build a healthy sleep routine. You can set up a customized sleep schedule and you’ll get a reminder to start winding down before your set bedtime. If your schedule varies day-to-day, you can customize your sleep schedule and reminders for each day of the week.

By Jillian Mueller