9 Ways the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Fitness+ can help your fitness goals

An Apple a day…


By Natalie Khoo

9 Ways the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Fitness+ can help your fitness goals

The first month of 2024 is almost up—how are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? If amping up your fitness game is on your list of goals for the year, a smartwatch can seriously help you get there. The latest Apple Watch Series 9, in particular, comes with a host of innovative features that you may not even know you needed.

Coupled with Apple Fitness+ (which is free for three months for new subscribers when you buy an Apple Watch), it has the full package to get you on track to a fitter, healthier you—whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or beginner. With that, we’ve rounded up nine ways to utilise the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Fitness+ to ace your fitness goals. 


1. Set daily Activity goals

Let’s start with the basics. Existing Apple users may be familiar with the term “close your rings”, referring to the three Move, Exercise, and Stand rings in the Activity app. (Regardless, we’ll be recapping them here). These rings allow you to track active calories, complete an exercise or brisk activity, and stand for at least one minute for a set number of hours in the day. By default, the Apple Watch recommends weekly goals tailored to your activity level and demographic data. However, you can manually adjust your Activity goals to suit your needs. This is a simple yet practical way to ease into a healthier lifestyle, and more importantly, to do it consistently.

Tip: Choose or customise a watch face that allows you to view your Activity rings at a glance so you can keep up the progress throughout the day!


2. Get reminders for mindfulness

It’s not just about closing your rings. With the Apple Watch Series 9’s Mindfulness app, you can also set daily reminders to practise breathing, reflecting, and thanks to the watchOS 10 update, log your state of mind. These simple habits can help nurture your mental well-being and build a strong mindset. Besides, mental and physical health are closely related—so taking care of your mind goes a long way towards keeping your body fit too. 


3. Keep track of your progress

Setting goals and reminders is one thing, reviewing your performance is another. As they say, knowledge is power. Having access to all the information you need about your physical statistics—such as heart rate, calories burnt, sleeping habits, and even menstrual cycle—is essential to understanding your body and making progress. This way, you can identify routines that may or may not benefit you and then make necessary adjustments. 

Now with On-Device Siri on the Apple Watch Series 9, users can access and log their health data directly on the watch. For instance, users can tell Siri to start a workout or set a timer without Wi-Fi or cellular networks for quicker responses—a feature that was not available on older watch models. This is owed to the powerful Neural Engine and S9 SiP chip in Apple’s latest smartwatch, which also makes dictation up to 25 per cent more accurate than its predecessor. 

An added bonus for cyclists with watchOS 10 is Bluetooth connectivity for power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensor—allowing you to unlock new metrics, Workout Views, and cycling workouts. Users can also tap on their iPhone to see the Live Activity of their cycling workout automatically show up in full screen.


4. Switch things up with a wide range of activities 

Perhaps you’re a little shy to sign up for a fitness class, or unsure whether you can commit given your unpredictable schedule. With Apple Fitness+, you can leave these worries behind. A subscription will grant you access to a plethora of HIIT, yoga, pilates, dance and strength training workouts right at your fingertips so you can exercise at your own time, place and pace. You may even build your own weekly workout plan to incorporate a variety of workout sessions, and let the Apple Watch Series 9 help you track your performance.

For those who prefer playing sports, you can also log activities such as badminton, basketball, tennis, swimming, football, or newer, trendy workouts like pickleball and fitness gaming. (Alternatively, if you’re a diver, you may want to consider the more advanced Apple Watch Ultra 2.) Moreover, the latest Apple Fitness+ update on 8 January has introduced Strength, Core, and Yoga for Golfers—tailoring workouts for those who play golf regularly. There’s plenty of other programs available too, so there’s definitely something for everyone!


5. Move to the music

Music makes everything better, including exercising. That’s why it’s an essential element of every Fitness+ workout, motivating users with hits from today’s top artists via a deep integration with Apple Music. The app lists the songs for every workout, so just pick your favourite and start moving to the beat!

This year, the Artist Spotlight series—which dedicates an entire workout playlist to a single artist—has launched its biggest series yet to celebrate the countdown to the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show. Expect music by iconic halftime performers each week leading up to the big game (starting from January 8), including new workouts with music by Rihanna, Britney Spears, U2 and, of course, this year’s headliner, Usher. 


6. Listen to Sound meditations for relaxation

Apple hasn’t only added music to the Fitness+ app, but also a meditation theme called Sound, which offers users a new way to feel relaxed and restored. It joins the list of 10 meditation themes including Calm, Gratitude, Sleep, Resilience, and Creativity. Each meditation session features gentle guidance from a Fitness+ trainer while providing ample space for users to be present, incorporating a variety of soothing tones and rhythms such as the sounds of singing bowls and gongs. There are seven new Sound meditations available in five-, 10-, and 20-minute increments, with new meditations dropping every week. 


7. Make Time to Walk 

We all have days where we’re simply out of it. While it may be difficult to find time or energy to get a workout done on those days, Apple’s Time to Walk programme encourages you to just…walk it off. The experience features some of the world’s most influential people who will share their unique stories, photos, and music with Fitness+ users.

Recently, new episodes of Time to Walk have been added, with notable names including Al Roker, longtime weather anchor and segment cohost for the Today show; Trixie Mattel, the winner of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, a Billboard-charting musician, and a cosmetics entrepreneur; and Lilly Singh, a Canadian author, actor, and YouTuber.


8. Challenge your friends to work out together

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition (or companion) to help spur you on. With Activity Sharing on the Fitness app or Apple Watch, you can automatically share your progress with your contacts so they can cheer you on each time you finish a workout or close your rings. Similarly, you can react to your friends’ activities to encourage them. Win-win! Plus, you’ll earn points from engaging in week-long competitions with each other too. 


9. Gun for special awards 

Competition aside, you’ll earn rewards in the form of awards (or badges, if you prefer) when you hit certain milestones. These awards will be logged on the Fitness app for, well, bragging rights. From running your first 5K to completing a monthly challenge, there are countless awards to add to your “trophy case”. In 2024, Apple Watch users can also earn a new limited-edition award, Ring in the New Year, upon closing all three Activity rings for seven days in a row any time in January. 


One final friendly reminder: these Apple Watch Series 9 features and Fitness+ updates can keep you accountable on your fitness journey, but you still need to *do the work*. All the best—you got this!


The Apple Watch Series 9 is priced from RM1,899 and can be purchased via the Apple website. Apple Fitness+ is available on the Fitness app as a subscription service for RM19.90 per month or RM119.90 per year, and can be shared with up to five other family members.


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