Thanks to technology, there’s never been an easier time to work on your health, fitness, or weight. Instead of the old days, when you had to make an effort to time your exercises, keep your own records of your weight, calculate your own BMI, and so on, a combination of hardware and software means that almost all of it can be done automatically. And even better, your Health app data pulls together almost all of it in one place.
The app offers a vast array of stats, and helpfully allows you to favorite the metrics that are most relevant to your own goals so that they appear on the Summary screen when you open the app…
All of which has come into focus for me as I’ve decided to lose the lockdown* weight.
(*Some weight may have been pre-acquired, but that’s my Official Excuse and you lot can’t prove otherwise.)
Weight alone can be misleading, as it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, so dieticians generally recommend using a range of different metrics. And while food intake is the single biggest factor when you want to lose weight, exercise also plays an important role in increasing your metabolic rate. All of which means is that there’s a whole bunch of data I want to measure:
- Waist circumference
- Body fat percentage
- Resting heart rate (a good guide to overall fitness)
- Calorie intake
- Active energy expended
- Cycling distance
Of these, the only ones I need to enter manually are waist circumference and calorie intake. There are lots of dieting apps that can help with the latter, and my partner recommended Lose It.
My Apple Watch measures resting heart rate, active energy, steps, and cycling distance, and I have a Qardio scale (review to follow) that measures my weight and body fat percentage, calculates my BMI, and Bluetooths that data to the companion app on my iPhone — which then feeds into the Health app.
Two small Health app data improvements, please
My only small complaint about this — and it really is the ultimate in First World Problems — is that each stat takes up quite a lot of screen real estate, and the data is shown in alphabetical order. What I’d really love is to be able to see all the data on one screen, and to choose my own order,
Both are easy to achieve. The current display format is very wasteful of space:
Simply put the numbers alongside the labels, and problem solved. As for reordering them, Apple already has a great UI for that, used in many of its apps. In the Phone app, for example, to reorder Favorites, you just drag the three-bar icon to move that entry up or down.
So those are the two small improvements I’d like, turning a really convenient one-stop-shop for health data into a true at-a-glance one.
Would this be helpful to you too? Please take our poll, and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Also check out my colleague Zac’s own experience with using Apple tech for health and fitness:
- Comment: One year later, Apple Watch has kickstarted a lifestyle change
- Apple Watch, New Year’s resolutions, and losing 50 pounds
- The journey continues: Apple Watch, positivity, and improving mental health
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