Over the last number of years I have tried to embrace the Apple Watch as a sport and fitness device. In the past I struggled with the Apple Watch first edition and then the Apple Watch 2 quickly returning to my default fitness watch. Two years on and with the announcement of the Apple Watch 4 I have anxiously taken the plunge back into the realm of Apple fitness.
One of my big negatives with the Apple Watch was that the HealthKit app. I felt it lacked the UI and usability of the offerings from Fitbit and Garmin. There is something satisfying in going the post run metrics and I found this was lacking with HealthKit and the Activities app.
Two years on and the landscape has changed. Reliable GPS and heart rate data and the ability to sync Apple Watch activities to Strava the device had matured into a respectable data centric fitness device.
HealthKit has also matured with a growing number of 3rd party apps supporting the ability to read and write directly with the HealthKit app. For example, MyFitnessPal can send nutrition data to HealthKit that can then be used by other apps. You have total control over what apps and what metrics can interface with your data. HealthKit in many ways has become a fitness hub of health and activity data.
One of my favourite HealthKit apps has to be the simply titled ‘Zones’ app. Winner of the ‘Best of 2016’ the app focus on Heart rate zone activity tracking.
Zones for Apple Watch
Live Heart Rate Zones
Many athletes use heart rate zones as a training method. The Zones app offers realtime heart rate zone information directly on the Apple Watch screen. It’s a really nice feature but to be honest I am happy using the Apple Activities App and then the Zones app on my phone for the metric analysis following an activity.
A Stunning Way to View your Fitness Engagement
Zones offers a really slick graphical user interface and offers a range of reports based on a host of activity metrics. You can decided your weekly activity target, the default being 150 minutes per week. Zones offers a timeline graph of the week coded by colour of the time in each heart rate zone. Additional reports and the ability to customise Heart Rate Zones is available in the £4.99 pro version of the app.
You can create custom reports that are limited to particular activities. For example you won’t want to have walks or hikes mixed in with your running data. Creating and editing reports is really simple and within a few minutes I had created a custom reports for Hiking that showed distances hiked this year.
You can drill down on recent activities and view detailed metrics together with GPS mapping. The graphs are stunning and the app offers the ability to share activities in image format including the ability to add your own background photos. This reminds me of the brilliant Velographic app that links to Strava.
Zones for Apple Watch / HealthKit offers a visually rich way to look at your fitness data. Long term reports and detailed information about recent activities make it well worth the £4.99 fee for the pro version. The ability to create custom reports and HR zones combined with the sharing features make Zones a must have app for any Apple Watch fitness fan.