Health And Lifestyle For The Over 50s

Can A Smart Watch Be The Key To Staying Active?


Apple’s latest product, the Apple Watch, is due to be released in April this year. At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, claimed that this latest gadget can play a major role in our fitness routine; keeping us healthier and more active.

This of course begs the question; just how effective can a smart watch be in keeping us physically fit? Is there any real benefit to owning one, or is it just another gimmick to inspire us to purchase a fairly expensive electronic device?

‘Sitting is the New Cancer’
According to Cook, ‘sitting is the new cancer’, and the Apple Watch is designed to get people out of their comfortable chairs and on their feet, on a regular basis. “If I sit for too long,” he continues, “it will actually tap me on the wrist to remind me to get up and move.”

Whilst this is an undeniably clever feature, will it actually work in practice? Whilst it certainly helps to be reminded to stay active, we wonder whether in fact people would begin to get irritated with the continual reminder, or gradually condition themselves to ‘tune it out’ and ignore the helpful tap.

However, there’s more to the Apple Watch than this one function. The device also comes with a wide range of apps and tailor-made features, with many designed to help make the wearer more active. It allows you to set fitness targets, monitor progress and even rewards you when you achieve your goals. A Workout app enables you to keep tabs on distance travelled, speed and calories burned when running, cycling or walking; and a heart-rate monitor keeps track of how hard your body is working.

Why It’s Important to Stay Fit
Whether the Apple Watch will deliver on its lofty fitness goals remains to be seen. However, the aim is undeniably a worthy one. A huge number of medical studies have demonstrated that sitting for extended periods of time can be severely detrimental to your health; and ironically, when Tim Cook claimed that ‘sitting is the new cancer’, he wasn’t completely speaking in metaphors. In truth, sitting for long periods of time can increase chances of developing colorectal cancer, according to recent research at Columbia University.

Here’s further food for thought; according to research undertaken at the University of Toronto, sitting still for extended periods of time during the day can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other forms of cancer; even if you are doing regular exercise at other points in the day. So it would seem that having the odd reminder to get up and moving may not be such a bad idea after all.

Regardless of whether you choose to invest in a smart watch, making a point of staying active is a really sensible idea. Even if it’s only a case of booking in a walk around the block every day, it still helps; by boosting circulation, encouraging a healthier heart and lessening the chances of developing other life-threatening conditions.