The Apple Watch Is Helping Me Add Seven Years to My Life

Like it or not, the Apple Watch is here to stay. Luckily for its fans, the health benefits are more than worth the money.

May 21, 2015
img bsm0whnxbgzv2mlldjh9

Yes, I got the Apple Watch. Probably half the population is jealous and half the population is shaking their heads at me for having it as soon as it was available. But, to all you naysayers, I will say it has had a profound impact on the way I think and understand exercise.

I’m an ‘active’ person according to the definition I’ve been told at the doctor’s office. I work out. I go for walks and jogs on occasion. Try to eat healthy and be healthy. But, as I sit here and type this, my watch just tapped me on the wrist and told me to stand up and move around. When this first started happening I thought, “this thing tells me to stand up all the time!” But, then I did some reading…

There’s a new phrase that’s gaining popularity today: “sitting is the smoking of our generation.” Powerful when you think about it, right? We associate smoking with serious health conditions like cancer, so how can sitting be comparable? Well, according to research, the average person spends half their life sitting down.

One study of over 92,000 women over 12 years showed that sitting for eleven or more hours a day gives them a 12 percent greater chance of dying from virtually any health condition–including said cancer we associated with smoking.

After just two weeks of sitting six hours each day, you’ll notice stairs may be harder to climb. That’s because your muscles have already started to atrophy and your oxygen consumption has dropped. After 10-20 years of sitting six hours a day, you can say goodbye to about seven years of healthy life.

With that said, this little watch tapping me got me thinking about not only my exercise routine, but how active I am overall. And, it got me thinking that maybe ‘exercise’ doesn’t always mean ‘active’. Here’s what it has made me reevaluate.

“I Sit Too Much”

You’re supposed to stand once an hour and move around for about one minute when you do stand. Doing this can drastically help alleviate all the problems sitting can cause. When I’m sitting at my computer, sometimes the hours fly by. I don’t realize I’ve been sitting all morning. Until I got this reminder on my wrist.

At the top of every hour the watch will tap me and tell me “It’s time to stand up! Move around for about a minute.” I’m always surprised at how fast that hour goes, but thankfully something else is keeping track. That tap is helping me live longer.

“I Exercise, But I Should Walk More”

I try to exercise 3-4 times a week. Something like a 30-minute workout DVD or a jog. But, once I started learning more about the whole sitting half my life thing, I realized my workouts might not be enough. Research suggests that working out everyday, even for an hour, won’t offset the effects of sitting most of the day.

My workouts may be helping me be fit, but they aren’t enough to make me healthier overall. I challenged myself to do a 15-20 minute walk around lunchtime to not only increase my minutes of exercise, which the watch measures by keeping track of my heart rate, but also decrease the amount I was sitting. And, my watch is always excited when I get more exercise. It even gives out awards when I do really well. Winning.

“If I Set a Goal, I’ll Reach It (With the Watch’s Help)”

The activity app allows you to set goals, like the number of active calories you want to burn in a day, how much you stand each hour, and minutes you exercise. When you’ve reached the goals for each of these categories, the circle in the app will be completed.

Now, I don’t want to say I’m addicted to getting that circle all the way around each day, but it has definitely challenged me to get more exercise each day and to burn more than my goal number of calories. It reminds me throughout the day of my progress so I can be well aware of my activeness.

Having goals and challenges has been proven to help people be successful in a variety of things. And, this is no different. The watch challenges me, sets goals for me, and keeps track of my success. It’s given me a new outlook on exercise and being active, and will hopefully help me live that extra seven years!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Staff Writer