I’ve used the Apple Watch 7 for cycling, weight training and more – here’s how well it works

The Apple Watch 7 is the best smartwatch and ultimate iPhone accessory, but with GPS and a heart rate monitor, among other wellness features, it’s also a fitness tracker. So how does it compare to the best fitness trackers on the market?

While most of the best Apple Watch apps can take your activity tracking to the next level, Apple’s native workout app supports dozens of motion types, as my dad discovered when he tried the Apple Watch. You can run, bike, swim, dance, HIIT, paddle board with the Apple Watch and more. If you’ve upgraded to watchOS 8, your Apple Watch can also track Tai Chi.

As with most wearable fitness devices, the Apple Watch 7 tracks your elapsed time, calories burned, heart rate, and distance traveled, if available. I put these metrics to the test over a week of workouts with the latest Apple Watch. From daily walks with a dog, to weight training, to trying to auto-detect outdoor biking, the Apple Watch 7 has become my exercise buddy.

Here are the main takeaways from my Apple Watch 7 Workout Test. My experiences may differ from training with the Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch 3. We’ve created a guide to help you find the best Apple Watch for you, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested in buying one of Apple’s smartwatches. .

Apple Watch 7: Outdoor Cycling

Apple Watch 7 Workout Test Automatic Outdoor Cycling Tracking

(Image credit: future)

I started with cycling, because it’s the type of training that Apple has reinforced the most this year. With bike-specific fall detection, auto-detect, and auto-pause features, watch OS 8 is arguably a game-changer for cyclists. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use the first of these new tools – no cliffside rides like in Apple’s Series 7 announcement video. (opens in a new tab) for me.

Instead, I embarked on a jaunt outdoors on a chilly fall afternoon. I didn’t initiate the workout from my wrist on purpose, hoping the auto-detection would notice that I started cycling. Sure enough, I got a buzz and a prompt asking if I wanted to record an outdoor bike in less than 5 minutes and less than half a mile covered.

I also turned on auto-pause (it’s not auto-pause) remembering the swerves I dealt with on my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test. Jumping off my bike to take pictures of a nearby bay botched the recorded distance from my Apple Watch 6, which I tracked alongside the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 for comparison. Luckily, using auto-pause while cycling with the Apple Watch 7 resulted in a measurement almost identical to my bike’s odometer.

Apple Watch 7: Bodybuilding

Apple Watch 7 Heart Rate Monitor

(Image credit: future)

Back at the gym, the Apple Watch offers both traditional and functional strength training options. I went for the functional, incorporating a variety of movements into my session. However, you can’t track individual exercises like you can on the Galaxy Watch 4. I’m not one to do 100 reps of the same movement in a row, so I didn’t miss any niche picks like the arm curls, bench press, lateral raises and pull-ups. Still, I imagine users would benefit from on-screen guidance for form and rep counting like on the Galaxy Watch 4 and some of the better Fitbit devices.

I alternated between upper body, lower body, and core exercises with dumbbells, while seeing my metrics on the redesigned Apple Watch 7 display. The Notable Differences Between Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch 6 are a 20% larger display and 70% brighter always-on mode, making it easier to see more exercise information at a glance. I enjoyed being able to see my heart rate trends throughout my workout in large, readable text. Best of all, the heart rate readings from the Apple Watch 7 matched those from my Polar OH1 wristband.

Apple Watch 7: On

Walking Exercise Apple Watch 7

(Image credit: future)

Between taking my dog ​​to the park twice a day and choosing to walk anywhere in New York City within an hour, most of my exercise experience with the Apple Watch 7 has come from walking. I used the Apple Maps features of iOS 15 to steer when I didn’t know where I was going, while the workout app thrilled me every mile with an update to my pace.

But when I walked my dog, my pace slowed. I wish the Apple Watch’s auto-pause option was extended to walking workouts (it only works for outdoor cycling and outdoor running) so my dog’s need to say hello every Passing by and sniffing each tree did not result in an average of 30 minutes. I missed this feature from the Galaxy Watch 4.

Apple Watch 7 as a fitness tracker: the verdict

Workouts using GPS drain Apple Watch 7 battery life faster than workouts that don’t, but even with regular hour-long walks, my smartwatch survived all day. Most of the best sports watches and best Garmin watches have better battery life with GPS, of course.

For fitness enthusiasts, a fitness tracker with longer battery life or more dedicated workout features might be preferred. Otherwise, the Apple Watch 7 is an all-in-one smartwatch with plenty of exercise features.

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