Does a smartwatch help users become more active?


Since her gastric bypass operation, Nicole M. has been going hiking and swimming several times a week. She tests whether a smart­watch encourages her to incor­po­rate more exercise into her day.

Experience report: more daily exercise with a smartwatch?

Nicole M. lives with her husband and their nine-year-old son in the Olten region. In April 2021 she had a gastric bypass. After years of ups and downs with her weight and many diets, she took the advice of her doctor and had the operation. Since then her life has completely changed. Seeing the operation as a second chance, the 41-year-old wanted to make the most of it. She has since been going swimming three to four times a week, as well as hiking and biking. At the beginning of August, CSS was looking for people to test smartwatches and report their findings. Nicole won the prize draw and received an Apple Watch that she would then test for 3 weeks.

A year ago, I would never have thought it possible to be where I am today.
Nicole M., smartwatch testperson

Activity tracking

Nicole now wears the watch every day. When swimming, she uses it to count her lengths, when hiking to record routes and altitude metres, and in her day-to-day routine to count her steps. «It's interesting to see how far and how long I exercise my body with all these activities. I love looking up the results of my training and physical activity. It’s encouraging to see how much I can achieve when I really want to.»

Monitoring sleep

Nicole also initially wore the watch at night, but she didn't like it. Monitoring her sleep isn’t important enough to her and the watch disturbs her sleep, she says. So now she only wears the smart­watch during the day, but also uses it to listen to music or to make calls when her mobile phone is not on hand.

Blood oxygen saturation and ECG

The young woman also tried out the blood oxygen saturation and ECG readings. But she prefers to get these checked by a doctor. After all, knowing the results is one thing, but interpreting them is another. «I don’t understand the results well enough and this only stresses me,» the 41-year-old says.

Simple connection with an iPhone

Nicole has used other smartwatches over the years. But she always had trouble connecting them to her smartphone. The data transfer between the two devices was never as stable as she would have liked. And so when the connection between the Apple Watch and iPhone functioned so smoothly, she was pleasantly surprised. Nicole also finds the smartwatch very easy to operate.

Collecting points by linking to active365

As a further incentive, Nicole has now ordered a new bike. She's able to finance this partly with points from the CSS active365 app. With this app, she collects points with her sports activities which she can then redeem for cash to invest in her bike. After linking the smartwatch to the app, the whole process is automatic.

In summary: does the Apple Watch encourage more daily exercise?

Overall, Nicole sees her experience with the smartwatch in a fully positive light: «A year ago, I would never have thought it possible to be where I am today. I have set myself a goal and the smartwatch helps me to see my progress.»

Nicole M. lives with her husband and their nine-year-old son in the Olten region.

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