The Apple Watch Series 8 family has arrived, and that means all of us Apple Watch owners are getting a fresh new version of Watch OS as long as you have a Watch Series 4 or later.
This new version is called watchOS 9, and it has a bunch of really useful new fitness and exercise features.
One of our favorites isn’t coming out until later this year. In the next update, you will be able to race against previous times, trying to beat your PBs. This is very useful if you tend to run the same trails or, for example, like to regularly participate in park rides around the same trail.
However, today we are more interested in some new features that you may not have tried yet, but which you can use today. Here are our top picks:
1. Turn on the power
watchOS 9 adds a new metric called Operating Power. If you’re dealing with an electric bill at home, you may be familiar with the stats you put in, evaluating your runs in terms of watts.
This is the number one living technical cyclist, whether they ride indoors or outdoors. And the reasons are exactly the same as those that make Power Power so worthwhile (for some of you) on your Apple Watch.
It is an account of the effort you put in. Start running downhill at the same pace and your running strength will increase. Go down a slope and it will go down.
We don’t recommend speeding too much on slopes to keep the power level running. This seems like a short road to injury. But it can be a very useful way to manage your effort level on longer slopes – something that pace alone can’t provide. You can consider it as an alternative to managing running by heart rate. Use which one is better after you have tried them..
Other watches already offer a similar scale. Garmin added it as a “native” feature recently in the Forerunner 255 and 955 watches, but you’ll need either a Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate strap or a Running Dynamic Pod for it to work.
Coros watches and some Polar models offer running power stats without additional hardware, just like Apple does. But it’s unusual to see Apple ahead of Garmin in the fitness classes with watchOS 9.
However, the feature only works when running – even walking/hiking won’t highlight these stats. It’s also not really worthwhile to compare your stats to the stats of a friend who owns a Garmin/Coros setup. You won’t get super-accurate stats with algorithmically generated power readings, which be Possible when using the power meter on the bike. You have to compare it to your own stats, as each brand effectively sets its own baseline.
2. Operating dynamics
There’s more good news for runners with watchOS 9. It offers very advanced running dynamics, stride length logging, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.
The stride length should be very clear. It’s the distance you travel with each set of steps – the right (or left) leg leaving the ground, hitting the ground again on your next run.
Vertical oscillation is how much you move up and down while running. This is usually recorded from the torso, as it avoids having to deal with the added complexity of arm movement. But Apple, these smart kids, explain it in their calculations.
Ground contact time is the time gap between the first part of your foot that makes contact with the ground, resulting in a complete loss of contact with the ground.
You may want to dig into these stats once you’ve passed goals like running 5km or 10km in X number of minutes, as they are indicators of your running style.
A lower vertical oscillation is generally better, as you spend less energy on movement that doesn’t propel you forward. Improving and reducing ground contact time is largely a case of improving your biomechanics, and how well your legs work.
The general advice is to start adding quick slides to your workouts. But you should also see some improvement in ground contact time due to reduced vertical oscillation.
The stride length will be determined by your height and leg length, but it can be a useful metric to watch as you try to improve your form.
These stats will not be useful to everyone. But it’s a way to get experiential feedback if you’re working with a trainer, or even a set of YouTube videos, to try to run more effectively — changing the way you run, not just the speed or duration.
Customizable Workout Views and Workouts
Perhaps the most useful set of new features in WatchOS 9 is the simplest. The screens you can see during your workout are now more comprehensive.
Why break today’s trend? Let’s use running as an example. In previous versions of watchOS, you had a single page of stats while running. Five stats visible simultaneously. You can customize these stats on your iPhone if you dig a little deeper, but we wonder how many people realized this was possible.
The middle of your workout is an order of magnitude more diverse in WatchOS 9. There are optional displays for your running strength, heart rate zones, and your activity and altitude loops. Apple also offers two customizable exercise screens, similar to the one we’re used to getting.
Unless we’re totally obsessed with running capability, we’ll probably be more interested in these dual adjustable screens than the attractive pre-made extras.
However, this does mark the expansion of mid-workout information for the Apple Watch to become more like a dedicated fitness watch. great things. You can thank the Apple Watch Ultra for this, as it’s aimed at people who would normally consider buying a Garmin, Coros, Polar, or Suunto watch instead.
Apple takes customization even further, letting you also create custom workouts. You’ll be familiar with the style of these if you’ve ever tried the Couch to 5K program. You can set goals, by distance or time, and efforts overlapping with cooldown sections. To create one of these, tap the three-dot icon on the workout selection screen, then create a workout.
#Apple #Watch #fitness #features