Thoughts on Apple Watch and Wellness

Hobie Henning
7 min readDec 4, 2022

I have been using the Apple Watch since just about Day 1 and I can say that over the last 7x years that its positively effected my life. When the Watch started off it was very much a computer on your wrist with some fitness features, namely the step tracking, heart rate, and Workout app, but over time it has come to encompass a lot more for me. I have a gastrointestinal condition that makes my life pretty difficult if I do not manage several factors including: exercise, food intake, water intake, stress, medicines, and sleep. Before I got the Apple Watch to start managing my condition I was having stomach issues 1–3x a week and that made working in the office very, very difficult. I’m luckily I chose IT as my career path because I’m not sure how I would get by at times since it’s definitely a daily struggle, but I can say that the Apple Watch has helped organize myself into forming healthier habits over time. Here are some of the things I do to help with things.

Exercise: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I use the Apple Workout app in combination with Apple Fitness+. I like to do the cycling and yoga workouts, but I really should break out into the CORE and strength workouts now that I’m starting to feel like I’m getting to the point I feel like I’m 80% over my back injury from earlier this year. I like the Apple Fitness+ workouts because they have many entry points, a good variety of workouts, the music + hosts are excellent, and all you need is your Apple Watch + a screen (iPad, iPhone, or AppleTV). I’ve done a few Apple Fitness+ Time to Walks, but most of the time I find that I simply use the Apple Podcasts or Audible app to listen to a podcast or book while I go out for a walk. There are also a variety of 3rd party apps like Nike Running, Strava (Biking), Peloton, Gentler Streaks, etc that are also fantastic. I’m pretty basic with my working out and I’ve just found that Apple Fitness+ has helped to introduce me to new types of workouts that I did not learn back in high school that have been good for me.

Food Intake: I used to Lifesum and that app is great for an all-in-one app, but I found that the water notifications were a bit buggy for me and I don’t really like the new colors of the redesign so I ended up switching to FoodNoms recently. FoodNoms is by an indie developer, but its more private by design (You pay for it as a result, but that’s fine by me). The database of foods is quite as developed yet, but I have found that the app’s notifications are fast and since its written on a bit more of a modern codebase that it just feels faster and seems to adopt the new iOS features like widgets or Lock Screen widgets faster than Lifesum does. I namely use it on my iPhone for the tracking bit, but the complications and Apple Watch app are nice to have, especially to see how I’m doing with my calories on any particular day.

Water Intake: You could use either LifeSum or FoodNoms for water tracking, but Foodnoms that’s a premium feature and I’ve just found that there is not better app for water tracking than WaterMinder. Their notifications are spot-on, its a fun app that you can customize, their Apple Watch apps are fantastic and they also have Mac + iPad apps. Water is the thing that I struggle with the most and I love that you can log your water by just tapping on the notification instead of having to pull out the app. Also the fact the WaterMinder is across all of my devices its easy to log and see where I am even if I’m at my desk or working on my iPad Pro on the go. A new fun water tracking app is Waterllama, its a big more fun than WaterMinder.

Stress Management: This is the category that I struggle the most with. I journal every day with Day One and they do have a nice Apple Watch app, but I probably use the Mindfulness Apple Watch app the most. I’ve played with Calm and Headspace, but I’m not good at meditation. For me I find prayer works better for me when I’m stressed and I haven’t found a good prayer app for Apple Watch as a Catholic. Hallow is a great iPhone app, but they do not have a companion app at the time of this writing. Gentle Streaks is really more of a workout app, but I do like their little timeline view that encourages you to push harder or even take a break. Its kinda encouraging to have an app look at your trend line data and recommend you to take a break every now and then.

Medicine: I have a couple of medicines that I take and I really appreciate Apple’s new Medicine app. Its easily to use, you can mark things off as done from the notification. It gets the job done. Beforehand I was using Streaks to keep track of it, but I didn’t break it down by medicine nor does that save your data in the Health App for future export if you need it.

Sleep: Sleep funny enough is one of bigger factors that I’ve found effects my stomach issues and another difficult one to track. I have use stuff like Sleep+ and AutoSleep in the past, but I found that I did not need that detailed of data and like Apple’s default approach of tying the sleep tracking to your actual alarm clock. To me just forming the habit of telling myself I need 7 hours of sleep a night and having my phone + watch remind that its getting close to bedtime and I should probably go to bed soon if I want to hit that mark given my alarm clock I have set. I like the visual ring that the iPhone shows you. I do have the sleep widget on my iPhone Home Screen to glance at every morning then I get up and the historical data is useful to have if I have noticed that my energy levels are down, down, down the last couple of days.

Emergency SOS + Car Crash Detection + Fall Detection : These are features that I have thankfully never had to use, but they do give me some peace of mind. I highly recommending turning them on. All Apple Watches support the Emergnecy SOS button. Fall Detection I believe is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and greater, but does require that you turn it on if you’re under 30. Finally there is Car Crash Detection and that’s available on the latest Apple Watch Series 8 and the iPhone 14 line of phones.

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Is this system perfect? No and I do have a lot going on with my Apple Watch that most peopel will never use, but I felt like maybe sharing what I do I could maybe give others ideas. The great thing about the Apple Watch is you can turn on and off features to make it more or less hands-on with recommending or reminding you to do things. I feel like some days I can get tunnel vision and for me the nagging is useful to me. I know some peopel may find that annoying, but for me it helps to have a little assistant on my wrist reminding me to take care of myself.

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Hobie Henning

IT Support Specialist V and Spring Hill College graduate who loves all things tech. If it has a flashing LED it has my immediate attention.