Consumers have seen a wave of new technology in the last few years as brands of smart wristbands like FitBit, Apple Watch, and other smart watches and bracelets have come to market. These pieces are more than a fashion statement or pedometers. They’re intelligent extensions of our health. Smart watches and fitness wristbands have helped customers take control of their health, reach fitness goals, and in some cases, save lives.

In particular, the Apple Watch crossed my radar when I began researching fitness bands. Being a loyal customer of Apple for many other pieces of technology, including my cell phone, computer, and tablet, I discovered that the Apple Watch had a ton of features I hadn’t even considered wanting or needing out of a fitness wristband.

The Apple Watch is more than a pedometer. Sure, it tracks your steps, but it also monitors your heart rhythm/rate, reminds you to breathe, encourages you to stand up, and tracks your exercise specific to the type of exercise you’re doing. Moreover, in my research I learned that the Apple Watch has the intelligence to alert users of irregular heart rhythms, which could save a user’s life. In fact, interviews with several users have concluded that their Apple Watch saved their lives, including a detected blood clot in one instance, an identified heart attack in another case, and the ability to call 911 using the SOS feature in another occurrence.

Disclaimer: I did not research other fitness wristbands, which may or may not have helped save lives. Once I researched the Apple Watch, I made my purchase. I am not promoting Apple’s products over any other brands or products with comparable capabilities. The Apple Watch was my preferred product and the research I did influenced my decision to purchase.

How My Apple Watch Kick Started My New Healthy Lifestyle

After concluding my research, I made the decision that the Apple Watch was right for me. In December 2017, I was able to purchase a 42mm Silver Aluminum Case Series 3 Apple Watch thanks to a few gift cards I received for Christmas. I have been using and wearing my watch ever since. Here are a number of ways that my Apple Watch kick started my new healthy lifestyle:

1. I track my steps.

Like almost any fitness tracker, the Apple Watch has the ability to track steps. Courtesy of a study conducted by a Japanese team back in 2000, walking 10,000 steps per day is the benchmark for improving blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, losing weight, and more.

My Apple Watch really kept me attentive, forcing me to track my steps to reach 10,000 steps per day. That said, there are days I definitely don’t meet this benchmark, but I will say that my Apple Watch has influenced me to try harder to. Any Apple Watch, FitBit, or other fitness tracker worn on your body is bound to encourage you to reach a daily steps goal. For me, The Apple Watch has inspired me to hone in on my daily count.

2. I stand every hour. 

According to Dr. James Levine, “sitting is the new smoking.” Leading an extremely sedentary lifestyle can lead to some grave health risks, such as muscle degeneration, heart disease, and more. That said, one of the features of the Apple Watch is that it pings me when it’s time to stand up. The Apple Watch encourages me to stand for at least one minuter per hour, although it is best to stand for longer periods of time.

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This feature is so important to me because I work full-time in an office setting. When I am busy at work it is far too easy for me to get caught up in my work to remember to stand. Having my Apple Watch on my wrist buzzing every hour for me to stand is the exact reminder I need to stretch my legs and stand for a bit. It is no doubt better for my health to get into this habit of breaking up my day so I am not sitting for an entire shift.

3. I monitor my resting heart rate. 

Prior to owning an Apple Watch, I didn’t pay too much attention to my heart rate, whether resting or active. I think being a young and relatively healthy individual led me to believe that I never needed to worry about my heart rate too much. Since owning an Apple Watch, I am so aware of my resting heart rate and my active heart rate. I was surprised to see how much higher my resting heart rate was than I expected it to be.

Having my Apple Watch has helped me monitor my heart rate and track my normal patterns throughout the day. Monitoring my heart rate now gives me something to reflect back on months from now when I’ve (hopefully) lost weight. I am hopeful that with diet and regular exercise my resting heart rate will drop into a healthier range overtime. Luckily, my Apple Watch makes it easy to track this goal.

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4. I take deep breaths.

Another great feature I’ve discovered about the Apple Watch is that it pings me to breathe. Personally, I feel that the mental and physical health benefits of taking a deep breath are often underrated. Breathing a real deep breath can clear my head. It brings my blood pressure down and reduces my stress.

Each time my Apple Watch pings to remind me to breathe, it gives me a moment to remember to pause and breathe in and out for a few breaths. In those moments, I can clear my head and give myself pause. This is such a healthy habit to get into and I thank my Apple Watch for that.

5. I track my exercise. 

The final feature I love about my Apple Watch that has helped me kick start my healthy lifestyle is my ability to track different types of exercises. On my Apple Watch I can select indoor and outdoor swimming, cycling, running, walking, elliptical, rowing, stair stepper, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and other workouts. Within each exercise, my Apple Watch can breakdown exactly how many calories I burn, including total calories and active calories. In my experience, I strongly feel that my Apple Watch accurately tracks my activity and calories burned, which helps me track my weight loss journey.

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The Apple Watch, like other fitness wristbands, comes with a whole host of fitness and health features that have helped me kickstart a new healthy lifestyle. In addition to these feature, my Apple Watch receives phone calls, sends and receives text messages, sends me social media notifications, and I can control my music from my watch as well. All of these features remind me that my Apple Watch really was a smart investment for me to make.

I happen to love the look and feel of my Apple Watch, and I adore how I can easily change bands and match my watch to any outfit I wear. All in all, my Apple Watch is a fitness tracker and so much more. It has helped me really take my health seriously and I am so impressed with how many changes I have made in such a short period of time.

Do you own a fitness tracker? What kind? What do you love (or hate) about it?