The Apple Watch has quickly become a must-have wearable for many iPhone users. Whether you love to get all your notifications on your wrist or just control your music, there are many ways your Apple Watch can improve your everyday life.
However, beyond all the convenience features the Apple Watch offers, it also comes with a significant collection of capabilities that can help you live a healthier and more balanced life.
Whether you're a health enthusiast or just trying to get in shape, here are 11 health features your Apple Watch can help you with.
The Mindfulness App
What started out as a simple breathing app has turned into a complete Mindfulness tool you can use on your Apple Watch.
Mindfulness offers basic breathing and meditation exercises you can do from just about anywhere. You can choose between one-minute to five-minute exercises and you'll be able to keep track of your progress in the Mindfulness app and your iPhone's Health app.
Plus, Apple Fitness+ subscribers can also access meditation exercises right from the app.
Fall Detection is one of the best safety features on your Apple Watch. As you can probably guess by its name, this feature lets your Apple Watch "know" whenever you fall.
When it detects a hard fall, your Apple Watch will ask you if you're okay; if you don't answer within a few seconds, it'll notify your emergency contacts and call 911.
Granted, this feature isn't 100% accurate. Sometimes, you might get a notification if you punch something too hard or if you move in a certain way. Still, it's a great feature to have enabled in case something happens — and it's saved more than a few lives.
Heart Rate Monitor
One of the first health features found on the original Apple Watch was a heart rate sensor. Upon request, your Apple Watch can give you a beats-per-minute heart reading in just a few seconds. However, it also tracks your heart rate when you're sleeping or just relaxing, giving you better insight into how well your heart is working.
What's even better is that your Apple Watch can also notify you whenever it detects your heart rate is unusually high or low for the activity that you're doing. This feature alone has helped a lot of people, so it's something you'll want to try.
The ECG App
To give you an even more in-depth look at how well your heart is working, your Apple Watch provides basic ECG capabilities. This app lets you take a simple one-lead electrocardiogram that tracks the electrical pulses that make your heart beat. While it's not as accurate as a medical ECG, it's useful for letting you know if it's a good idea to see your doctor.
Plus, since you're wearing it all the time, it can detect intermittent conditions that a hospital ECG might miss. This can help you know what your heart rhythm looks like, and it'll be easier to see whenever something feels off with your heart. For instance, if the upper and lower chambers of your heart are out of rhythm, you might have Atrial Fibrillation (Afib).
The ECG app is only available on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later and the Apple Watch Ultra. It's not available on the Apple Watch SE, although that model can still detect irregular heart rhythms that could be symptomatic of Afib.
Speaking of Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), your Apple Watch can also keep track of how often it occurs.
Since Afib is an intermittent condition, it can be hard to diagnose. However, an Apple Watch that's on your wrist every day can keep track of how many times your heart goes into Afib and how long it stays that way during activities like workouts or sleep.
Blood Oxygen Monitor
If you have an Apple Watch Series 6 or newer, you can also keep track of the oxygen in your blood. While it was met with some initial skepticism after its release, proper medical research studies have shown it to be surprisingly accurate. It can give you a better insight into your overall health, and even help alert you to life-threatening medical problems.
As mentioned, this feature isn't available on every Apple Watch model — only the Apple Watch Series 6 or newer and the Apple Watch Ultra. Older Apple Watches and the Apple Watch SE don't have the necessary hardware sensors for blood oxygen tracking.
Check Your Respiratory Rate
Alongside the oxygen in your blood, your Apple Watch can also keep track of your Respiratory Rate while you sleep. This is the rate at which you breathe — usually, that's between 12 to 20 breaths per minute.
This data is recorded automatically as you sleep if you've set up your Apple Watch for sleep tracking and you're wearing it to bed. You can check your respiratory rate under Browse > Respiratory in the Health app on your iPhone.
Keep Track of All Your Medications
Tracking your health is one thing, but your Apple Watch can also keep track of all the medications you need to take during the week.
A built-in Medications app reminds you when you need to take your medicine and even lets you know what type of side effects it may have.
In addition to the standalone Medications app on your Apple Watch, you can also find the settings on your iPhone by going to Browse > Medications in the Health app.
Keep Your Hearing Health in Check
Appropriately called Noise, this app helps you keep aware of how much noise is around you.
Your Apple Watch can actively "listen" to the level of sounds around you and alert you when the decibels get too high. Your Apple Watch will recommend that you lower the noise or go somewhere else, as listening to loud noise for a very long time can harm your hearing in the long run.
Track Your Daily Activity
People changed the way they worked out once Apple introduced Activity Rings on the Apple Watch. You can keep track of all your daily activities and try to beat your best scores by working out, burning calories, and standing up every hour.
The best part about your rings is that you can share your progress with friends and family to push them — and yourself — to work out even more.
Closing your rings has become a daily goal for many Apple Watch users, and that extra push has really helped improve people's physical health and fitness.
Track Your Sleep
Your Apple Watch can also track your health while you sleep. All you need to do is wear your Apple Watch to bed with the Sleep Focus on, and it will actively track the quality and quantity of your sleep. For instance, you'll be able to see how long you actually slept and all the sleep stages you went through during the night, such as deep sleep and REM sleep.
Moreover, your Apple Watch will also track other things like your heart rate, Afib history, and respiratory rate while you sleep, and you can check all that in the Health app on your iPhone.
Don't Leave It All to Your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is a fantastic tool for health and fitness enthusiasts. You can track almost everything you need to live a long and healthy life.
However, the Apple Watch isn't perfect. Not only could it fail, but it's not a replacement for seeing a doctor. It might let you know when you should see a medical professional, but if you're feeling unwell, don't assume you're okay just because your Apple Watch isn't reporting any problems. Remember to regularly visit your health provider and let them know of any symptoms you may feel.
After all, you shouldn't trust your whole life to a smartwatch.