If you want your fitness tracker to truly provide some insight into how healthy you are it needs to do more than count steps – it needs to monitor your heart rate. However, collecting the data is just a small part of the picture, because it’s how the tracker interprets and uses that information that makes it useful.
Following the recent watchOS 4 update, the new Apple Watch on EE now has several impressive new heart rate tracking features that combine to show not only how intense your exercise is but also how that exercise is affecting your cardiovascular health over time. The new Apple Watch’s great 4G functionality works only on EE with an EE iPhone, and allows you to stay connected during your workouts without taking your iPhone with you.
The latest Apple Watch’s heart rate monitoring features can be broken down into two different areas – what it offers during and immediately after a workout, and what it offers through continuously tracking your heart rate throughout the day. Tracking your heart rate during a workout is useful in helping to judge the intensity of your training, while the extra depth of detail recorded by all-day monitoring allows the Watch to provide an accurate picture of your overall heart health.
Whether you use the native Workout app on the Watch to track your training or a third-party app like Nike+ Run Club, you can see your heart rate live on the screen. This is useful as a definitive measure of how hard you are actually working during your exercise. Naturally one type of training where heart rate is vital is HIIT workouts, which you can now record through a dedicated sports mode on the new Apple Watch on EE. If you’re looking to spike your heart rate during a HIIT session it’s useful to be able to see it on screen, and the same goes for interval training with other sports like running, rowing and cycling.
And when you are looking to push your heart rate to the limit, the new Apple Watch on EE can help get you fired up by streaming you favourite motivational tunes over the air – no need to worry about loading playlists onto the watch or carrying your phone with you, the built-in cellular connectivity only available to EE customers means you can stream over 40 million songs direct from Apple Music. Making it a great way of making the most of your 6 months of free Apple Music that you can get with your iPhone’s EE pay monthly plan.
However, it’s not only when you’re aiming to push yourself that heart rate is important, as you should also be scheduling some easier, active recovery workouts into your training week. During these workouts you can use the heart rate reading on the new Apple Watch to ensure you’re not pushing too hard when you’re meant to be taking it easy.
If you’re planning on using your heart rate to judge your training effort you first need to work out your max heart rate. The simplest way to do this is to subtract your age from 220. From there you can use a percentage of your max heart rate to determine your effort. Easy efforts should be done between 50 and 70% of your max heart rate, while you should aim to hit 85% of your max during HIIT sessions.
When your workout is done the new Apple Watch will tell you your average heart rate and show a graph of your heart rate throughout the session. It also gives details on how quickly your heart rate has returned to normal. This recovery stat is a great way to get a snapshot of your general fitness, as the faster you heart rate returns to normal, the fitter you are. In general, you should hope to see the heart rate drop by 20bpm a minute after you finish exercising, and as you track your fitness over time you will hopefully see your recovery rate get faster.
The latest Apple Watch also shows how your cardiovascular health is changing over time by measuring your resting heart rate each day using the continuous heart rate monitoring offered by the Watch. If you’re looking to gauge your fitness, this is a very welcome addition to the Watch, as resting heart rate is one of the best measures of health available on consumer trackers.
Click on the heart app on the Watch and you can see your resting heart rate measurement for the day, while on the phone, whether it was weighing your pocket down or safely locked away in your locker thanks to EE’s connectivity, which offers 4G in more places than any other network in the UK you can see your stats for the past hour, day, week, month and year.
This is the perfect way to see if your training regime is resulting in improvements to your health, as if it is you will see your resting heart rate come down over time. That’s because a stronger, healthier heart is more efficient in pumping blood around the body with each beat, so beats less frequently. Like any other muscle, the heart gets stronger when you exercise it, resulting in a drop in your resting heart rate.
The continuous heart rate tracking on the new Apple Watch on EE means that you get an accurate measure of your resting heart rate that isn’t confounded by occasional spikes that are due to factors like a big cup of coffee, or an especially stressful hour of work ahead of a deadline.
A healthy resting heart rate for an adult is in the 60-100bpm range, while especially fit people will have a resting heart rate of 40-60bpm. People can naturally have low or high heart rates, but if your resting rate is consistently above 100bpm then it’s worth having it checked out by a doctor, as it could be an indicator of an underlying heart health issue.
The new Apple Watch will also provide your average heart rate while walking each day, which you would also hope to see come down as you get fitter (assuming you always walk at roughly the same pace and on similar terrain).
Another new feature on the new Apple Watch is elevated heart alerts, which notify you if your heart rate is unexpectedly high. These alerts are only sent if your bpm hits a certain threshold you set for the Watch during a period when you’ve been inactive for 10 minutes – clearly you don’t need them if you’re doing a HIIT session and trying to spike your heart rate.
An unexpected spike in your heart rate could be a sign of a serious heart issue and so should be treated seriously. James Green, a 28-year-old man in Brooklyn recently hailed his Apple Watch for saving his life after the Heart Watch app on the Watch alerted him that his resting heart rate had been consistently higher than usual. Green went to the hospital where it was discovered that he had a blood clot in his lungs that could have proved fatal had it been left untreated.
Touch wood you’ll never experience anything so serious, but the elevated heart rate alerts are an invaluable extra feature offered by the Apple Watch 3, on top of its ability to measure your cardiovascular health through your resting heart rate on EE.
Of course all of these heart rate features are just one part of what the latest Apple Watch advanced technology offers. As well as multi-sport fitness tracking and the best app support available on any smartwatch, the cellular connectivity delivered by EE with the most advanced smartphone iPhone X means you can take calls, receive emails and send messages directly through the device, completely freeing you from your phone.
No other fitness tracker or smartwatch rivals the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G)’s feature set and, as the recent updates to the heart rate capabilities and the addition of cellular connectivity delivered by EE show, Apple continues to find ways to make it even better.
The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G), uses the same number as your iPhone, so both the iPhone and your Apple Watch need to be on EE if you want to call, message, use apps and stream music, without having your iPhone on you. If your iPhone is on another network and you buy the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G), you simply won’t get access to all of the great 4G functionality.
EE offers the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G) from just £25 per month with unlimited data, and customers require an iPhone 6, SE (or later) on a EE pay monthly or EE SIM Only plan.