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Apple Watch Just Got a Major Health and Fitness Upgrade


If you weren't already lusting after an Apple Watch for its cool factor and style (hello, rose gold!), convenience (text message alerts, Apple Pay, and turn-by-turn directions at the flick of a wrist), or activity tracking (its heart rate feature May Have Saved a Life!), now you have even more reason to swoon: As of this week, you can download updated Apple Watch-specific versions of some of your favorite third-party apps, taking the health and fitness capabilities of the trendy tracker to a whole new level.

This is all thanks to the watchOS 2 software upgrade that happened back in September, which allowed developers to create apps that tap into all of the watch's cool features, including the heart rate sensor, speaker, and Taptic Engine (meaning those notifications that feel more like a human touch than a vibration). Not to mention, now the apps are able to run natively on the watch (instead of just mirroring their iPhone versions).

While you can still use Apple Watch's dedicated Workout app, you can also use other go-to apps like Runkeeper or Seven, and view all of your fitness goals in one place. Plus, you'll get exercise credit for those workouts in your daily activity rings that track how much you move. You can even share your activity progress and achievement badges with other Watch friends or on social media.

We hope more developers will take advantage of this update and create new Apple Watch-specific versions (come on, Nike!), but for now the apps below are leading the way.

Seven: Based on the popular seven-minute workout featured in New York Times Magazine, this app gives you super-effective bodyweight workouts that require nothing more than a chair or wall. Now you can get visual cues and coaching (you can even choose what voice you want to deliver the instructions!) right on your wrist.

Gymaholic: Free your hands while you hit the gym for your strength training sesh, and keep track of your reps and sets. You'll even receive alerts when you're below a minimum and above a maximum BPM.

MyFitnessPal: Consistently rated one of the top diet apps, you can get all of your calorie intake and exercise tracking info through Apple Watch.

Pocket YogaWhether you're a newbie or an experienced yogi, Pocket Yoga lets you practice at your own pace at home with guided voice and visual instruction. You can practice directly from your Apple Watch and get extra info, including the current pose, time remaining, heart rate, and calories burned, directly on your wrist.

Lark: Want a personal weight loss coach and 24/7 nutritionist, but don't want to shell out major dough? This is about as close as it gets. Lark tracks your food, sleep, and exercise and then texts you with the easiest ways to be healthier in a super friendly and chatty way. (It's basically the equivalent of that super supportive friend who nudges you to be healthier—without annoying you.)

StreaksTrack up to six tasks you want to complete every day, like "eat a healthy meal," "walk 10,000 steps," or even "read for 10 minutes," and build a streak of consecutive days. Now you can see it all on your Apple Watch, plus receive helpful nudges throughout the day.

Runtastic: Effortlessly start a run from your wrist and get all the info you expect from the highly popular running app (including heart rate, distance, pace, elevation, and more) without taking your iPhone out of your pocket or arm band. 

3-Minute Mindfulness: Don't have time for 30 minutes of meditation? (Who does?!) These three-minute guided meditation sessions are a no-brainer. All you have to do is follow along with the Watch—it'll tell you when to breathe in and out or when to hold you breath—so even a total beginner can jump right in.

Wahoo RunfitUse the running app that helps you tap into your heart rate to train intelligently (and also captures your cross training workouts and gives strength training options to complement your running). 

Sworkit ProThe app that brings you guided routines from professional trainers just got way more useful: Track your real-time heart rate from start to finish and get your average and peak heart rate on your watch so you can know when you're getting the most out of your workout.

LifeSum: Designed to help you build heathy, sustainable habits, this app tracks your water, meals, and exercise. Even more: Get reminders and exercise suggestions throughout the day. 


Lose It!: This popular weight loss app tracks food and exercise, helps you plan meals, and integrates with other fitness apps like RunKeeper and MapMyFitness for a seamless experience.

Waterminder: Need help staying hydrated? Based on your body weight, WaterMinder will remind you to drink water to reach your daily goals. 

HeadspaceA meditation app dubbed "a gym membership for your mind" brings you easy-to-follow guided meditations (that range from two minutes to 60 minutes) and will be your new go-to whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.

Runkeeper: Already a fanatic of the running app? Runkeeper is now integrated with the Apple Watch heart rate feature—and lets you track your runs without your phone nearby. Plus, you can use Bluetooth headphones to get audio updates mid-run about your mileage, calorie count, pace, and speed.


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