Like most men who have just turned 40, I’ve become more than acutely aware of my own mortality! As healthy as I try to be, there is always the worry that I’ve more years behind me than ahead, so I’m keen to use the tools I have at my disposal to allow me to make better life-style decisions.
I’ve had a slightly elevated heart rate for a while now, so I recently started to look at different applications that take the basic heart data the Apple Watch collates and look at how it’s presented. Are there any applications that can be more pro-active with regards to alerts? Do any display the data in a manner that allows me to track patterns and make data-driven decisions?
The answer is Yes - and my pick of the bunch is HeartWatch 3.
There are so many reasons to love HeartWatch 3. It’s highly customisable, visually great and the notifications that are available (not mandatory) are reason enough to purchase.
Let’s look at some of the different views that are available from the Views tab:
Regular Heart Rate
This shows you the heartbeat readings for when you are not working out or sleeping. You’ll see a badge with a number in the middle (your heart rate) and various colours that fill the badge. Blue indicates that the heart rate was within acceptable parameters (that you can define for yourself), Purple means it’s elevated, whilst Red means it was high. This data is great, I mean I don’t think you can put a price on it. If you swipe the badge to the right, you can see other days.
Waking Heart Rate
This is much easier if you wear your watch to bed, however you can use the Take Pulse option directly from the watch app when you wake if you are competent enough when you have just woken up! Myself, I wear the watch through the night and put it on charge for an hour whilst I work through the non-fitness elements of my morning routine. As you can see from the pic below, my waking heartbeat was a tad high this morning - there’s a peek behind the curtain for you! I need to look at why that was. Maybe I wasn’t in a truly deep sleep before waking or struggled to sleep during the night. (I’ll look at this with another application that I use called AutoSleep).
Sleeping Heart Rate
Similar to the above two, Heartwatch 3 can present you with a graphical view of how your heart rate fluctuates when you sleep. Again, you need to wear your Apple Watch overnight for this.
If you click on the calendar icon in the top right-hand corner, you will see a view of all readings for a particular month as well as a graph showing statistics for the last 12 weeks. You can switch between the regular view, min/max heart rate, waking heart rate, workout heart rate, sleeping heart rate and the sleep recharge rate (how much sleep you are getting).
The Dashboard offers an overview of your activity rings, goals and heart rate for the day, week or month. This view is great, oozing with colour and options for moving to other windows. Almost any icon you press presents you with more data to analyse.
This tab shows you how you are performing with the your Activity rings. Moving enough? Getting enough steps in? My favourite feature here is the ability to view a graph that shows what my heart rate was when walking a particular distance. You’ll see from the image below that I can gauge when I was walking, and for how far, through the green bars on the chart. How cool is that?
You can set your Notifications to alert you when your heart rate exceeds a certain level. If you buy this app for any reason at all, it should be this. It could save your life, let’s be frank. You can set this as high as you like. There is also a setting to alert you when it plummets to a certain rate. Of course, you can tell Heartwatch to NOT alert you during workouts.
I think you’ll agree that as far as Apple Watch applications go, this is by far one of the most useful. I feel more confident that when my heart rate goes up to an unacceptable level, I’m going to know about it. Who knows, maybe that security and knowledge helps keep it a touch lower than it would be otherwise. I like to think so.