Now, you all know that I am a fan of the good old smartwatch, but recently, I have been thinking, could you get away with just using your Phone for tracking fitness? Most people always have their phones with them, so why couldn’t you get away with not buying an expensive smartwatch?
So why am I even thinking this could be a way forward? It boils down to the amount of digital devices that we have in our lives that are constantly stealing our attention and distracting us with notifications. Could it also be leading to more anxiety creeping into our lives with all the health tracking features?
I don’t know about you, but I both love and hate these fitness features. I want to be fit, but I am also conscious that the data is not always painting a pretty picture, which sends my into anxiety overdrive. So what can you do with your phone that you would do with a smartwatch, and what would you be missing?
More and more people want to track their steps in the quest to hit that magical 10k mark for the day. I do like to have the ability to just glance at my Apple Watch Ultra and see what number I am up to. But I could also get out my phone, whether that be an iPhone or an Android phone, and check my steps there.
OK, so you might miss out on a few steps when you might not take your phone with you, for instance, when you head to the bathroom, but it’s going to be that many.
We have notifications on our phones and then on our smartwatches. Do we need them on both? It feels like there is no escape from being pinged, which in itself is a bit scary.
The other thing is, if you are like me, I see the notification on my watch and go to my phone. This seems a bit counterintuitive, but there are many who read and respond to notifications on their wrist.
And with mobile data on some smartwatches, it does allow you to leave your phone behind. However, I know some that turn off all notifications on their smartwatch, and it is purely a fitness tracker.
But back to the point, you can just have your phone for notifications.
You can also use your phone to track your runs using apps like Strava. It will give you time and distance, but if you want more detailed data, you will need to have a smartwatch or heart rate monitor.
So this one will depend a lot on what you want to track. So, although you can use your phone, this is where you are going to miss your smartwatch the most.
If you want to track your sleep, you will need a smartwatch or another form of sleep tracker like an Oura Ring. Sleep tracking is becoming very popular as more is out there about the benefits to our health, both mental and physical, of good quality sleep.
Therefore, if this is your bag, then some sort of additional tracker is needed, and your phone will not suffice. As I mentioned, this doesn’t need to be a smartwatch. Sleep tracking rings or something like a Whoop band could also be a good option.
This is one that my other half can’t do without. He is forever putting his phone down and forgetting where he has put it, so the Find My Phone feature on his Apple Watch is a must have. It makes it so easy by just touching the phone icon in the menu on your Apple Watch, and it will ping your iPhone so you can follow the sound to find it.
So, we have touched on some fitness features like tracking your runs, but what about other health and fitness features? Having a smartwatch allows you to track things like your VO2 Max, which is useful if you are training or just generally trying to improve your cardiovascular fitness. You can also check things like your heart rate and O2 levels and perform an ECG.
So these are not features your phone will support on its own, and a smartwatch will be needed. Again, this is all useful data if you are someone who wants to track all elements of their health and fitness.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to whether you want to have notifications as well as health and fitness tracking on your wrist or not.
If you are someone that just wants to track the basic like steps and the odd run, then your smartphone is more than capable, so you can save some money. There is also the benefit of not having notifications pinging your wrist every minute of the day. You can turn them off, but I think most people would leave them on.
For me personally, I like to have my smartwatch for notifications but more so the health and fitness tracking that I get from it. I am not training for anything in particular, but I do like to track my exercise, whether that’s a run or just a walk. Being able to keep track of my cardio fitness is also something I have started paying more attention to.
So, at the end of the day, if you want to track your health and fitness as well as having smart features on your wrist, a smartwatch it is. But if you don’t, then save yourself some cash and just use your phone.