Since my first review of the excellent HealthFit app, which I use most days to sync my data from the Health app to Strava and TrainingPeaks and to backup my fit files to iCloud, the developer has been hard at work adding more and more features (with no increase in price or in-app purchase which is great)
Here's the official list:
- Pool Swimming workout are recognized as native Garmin Workout, that is, you can see 4 charts: Pace, Strokes, Swolf and Heart Rate. In addition, you can see your intervals (which matches the automatic segments in Activity app).
- Support for exporting to Final Surge and Selfloops have been added
- You can now see your rides full screen
- Coloured tracks which change with the speed
- Display calories if there is no distance
- Around 50 pictograms for the activity types
- Cadences for running workouts (steps per minutes)
- Complete new view for Health/Fitness metrics.
- and of course plenty of bug fixes.
It's the Health metrics view and export that interest me most. One of the benefits of Apple Watch is the holistic view it can provide of your health by providing day long monitoring (and nighttime too if you are happy to charge it for an hour or so during the day).
I have been using the Beddit sleep monitor over the last month or so, which writes my sleep data into the Health app, and then I can use HealthFit to export that, together with other metrics such as my Resting Heart Rate, and HRV (see below) as a metric in Training Peaks which in turn can produce charts for further analysis (though in reality that analysis is fairly basic for me at the moment)
Still, I find this very interesting, and an area that I am sure is going to expand with new sensors and devices writing information into the Health App. If you are interested it's worth opening the Health app on iPhone and delving into the amount of data that can be recorded there. I will be writing about this in more detail in a future post.
The Beddit Sleep monitor has been largely successful for me, and the technology it uses (essential a thin strip placed under your bed sheets) is remarkable in its sensitivity and ability to record sleep movements and heart rate during the night. This is a company that has been purchased by Apple so I expect that the tech will in someway become part of the Apple eco-system in the future. Beddit has an Apple Watch app, but rather strangely it is only used to provide a summary of your sleep and to record "naps" during the day - not something I do often.
There are some good apps for sleep monitoring that use Apple Watch if you don't want to spend out on Beddit though - I found AutoSleep to be the best for me.
As it stands I find Resting Heart Rate (recorded overnight by Beddit and during the day by Apple Watch) and my amount of sleep an interesting indicator of how well I'll perform in training. Certainly I notice that with a cold or if I am tired my RHR increases five or six of beats over a period of the day, and after a glass of wine or two my sleep is much more restless and my RHR can jump up dramatically during the initial period of sleep (as you might expect).
HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is something I am interested in as an indicator of performance, and overtraining, and Apple Watch attempts to log this too - though the figures I see are lower than I would expect. It has been generally understood that wrist based HR monitors such as Apple Watch that measure blood flow rather than the electrical pulses from the heart that would get from a chest strap are not accurate for HRV, so Apple are attempting to break new ground here. I plan to use a HRV app (either Elite HRV, or HRV4Training which interestingly now states they can measure HRV with your phone alone!) and a chest strap to record my HRV in the morning and compare to the Apple Watch records. For details of what HRV is and how it could possible help with your training, take a look at those apps and their web sites which both have a lot of info.
But the bottom line here is that the Health App is the underlying data store for all your health data, and that we will see more and more apps, and more and more devices (including future versions of Apple Watch with new sensors) write more and more interesting information into it. HealthFit is now allowing us to export at least some of that into other services for analysis which is welcome.
Questions about what data the Health App stores and how, how it is used and related privacy issues and performance benefits will be dealt with in a future post -stay tuned!