The Apple Watch can function as a fitness tracker to help you be more aware of your overall health.

One of the most important features of the Apple Watch is its potential to help us lead healthier lives. Out of the box your Apple Watch can count your steps, track workouts, and even monitor your heart rate. Apple Watch makes it easy to track the parts of your active life that are the most important to you. Whether your goal is losing weight or monitoring certain health data for medical reasons, an Apple Watch can help you accomplish all of the above with the help of the Activity, Workout, and Health apps.

No matter what your personal goals are, here’s everything you need to know about the health and fitness on the Apple Watch!

5 things you need to know about tracking activity with Apple Watch

Before you start tracking activity with your Apple Watch, it’s important to understand how the Apple Watch looks at health and fitness. Instead of merely counting steps or basic calorie averages, the Apple Watch looks more at the entire picture. That means it focuses more on active calories, making sure you’re moving around on a regular basis (in this instance, for at least a minute each hour), and a few other important aspects of staying fit.

Check out our tips on activity tracking with the Apple Watch to make sure you have a thorough understanding of how Apple Watch tracks your activity as a whole.

How to set a calorie goal with Activity for Apple Watch

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you set up your Apple Watch is pick a calorie goal you’d like to hit every day. This goal includes only active calories and not resting ones. That means the Apple Watch will differentiate between the calories you burn just by being alive and those that you burn going above and beyond that, whether it’s going for a brisk walk, working out at the gym, or something else. Think about what your current activity level is and we can walk you through how to set a reasonable goal for yourself.

How to view activity levels on your Apple Watch

The Activity app on your Apple Watch lets you quickly see your progress any time you’d like. The three areas your Apple Watch tracks — move, stand, and exercise — are each represented by a colored ring in the activity app. The closer you get to completing a specific goal, the closer the ring will get to completing itself. Apple Watch also lets you scroll down in each section to view a little bit more of a data breakdown if you choose.

How to add the Activity app to your Apple Watch’s clock face

A super simple way to view your activity levels in a single tap is by adding a shortcut to the Activity app to the clock face of your Apple Watch. This can be done by using one of the complication spots on whatever watch face you prefer. If you aren’t sure exactly how to add activity, we can walk you through step by step.

How to view your step count with Apple Watch

The Apple Watch doesn’t use step count as an overall gauge of health the way some step trackers do but it does take it into consideration. If you ever want to see your current step count, you can easily do so right inside the Activity app. Not sure where to find it? We can show you!

How to check your heart rate with Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has a built-in heart rate sensor that makes calorie counts during workouts, and throughout your regular day, even more accurate. By default the Apple Watch will check your heart rate every ten minutes, unless you’re in the middle of a workout, and it will monitor it consistently. If you ever have a need to manually check your heart rate, you can do that too!

How to pair an external heart rate monitor to Apple Watch

If you’re heavily training or have a need for more accuracy when monitoring your heart rate, you can pair an external Bluetooth sensor or strap to your Apple Watch as well. Once you pair it, any activity the external monitor picks up will instantly be beamed back to your Apple Watch and recorded the same way the internal sensor would.

How to track athletic progress and achievements with Apple Watch

The Activity app isn’t only available on your Apple Watch, but on your iPhone too. It will be instantly added when you pair and start using your Apple Watch. With the Activity app on iPhone you can view more detailed summaries of activity and workouts, as well as any achievements you’d unlocked. You can also see other available achievements and what you have to do in order to earn them.

How to track and manage workout sessions with Apple Watch

The Workout app that is built in to your Apple Watch lets you track a lot of common workout types from outdoor running and walking to indoor stationary equipment such as an elliptical. Starting a workout is easy. When you’re done your workout will automatically be logged in not only the Workout app, but the Activity app and the Health app on your iPhone.

How to view goal metrics in Workout for Apple Watch

By default the Workout app on Apple Watch shows a progress ring indicating how close you are to completing your training session. If you would prefer to see goal metrics such as calories burned, heart rate, distance, and other pertinent information, you can. You’ll just have to make a few changes inside the Apple Watch app first, and we can show you how.

More help with Apple Watch?

Want even more help with your Apple Watch? Be sure to check out all the helpful links below. If you have a specific question, feel free to drop a question in our forums, no registration required, or shoot us an email.
from iMore – The #1 site for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all things Apple!