April 14, 2024

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5 essential Pixel Watch 2 features for better health and fitness

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Smartwatches don’t just live on your wrists to tell the time. For that, you have many options that are far less costly and more user-friendly. If you wear a smartwatch, you’d be best served to actually use the features that make the watch, well, smart.

That includes features geared toward health and wellness. After all, why have a Pixel Watch 2 if you won’t take advantage of the things that help make this watch special? You’d be surprised at how easy it is to make incremental changes to your life, based on the data your watch has to offer regarding your health and well-being.

Also: The best blood pressure watches you can buy, according to medical research

What are these features I keep mentioning? Let me introduce you to the five I use the most, so you can start incorporating them into your daily routine.

Ready to get healthy? Let’s go…

1. Heart rhythm assessment

This feature collects data — using the Pixel Watch 2’s built-in sensors — and looks for things like normal sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, high heart rates, and low heart rates. Once you’ve added this feature, it only takes a 30-second reading with the app on your watch and, once you’ve collected enough data, you can generate a PDF of the results to share with your healthcare professional.

To add the tile, open the Watch app on your phone and tap the Tiles button. From the Manage Tiles page, tap the Add Tile button. Locate the ECG Quick Launch and tap the associated + button to add the tile. After adding the tile, swipe your watch face until you see the ECG tile and tap Start. This will walk you through the setup for the app (which is quite simple). After setup is complete, you only have to start the app and lightly touch your finger to the watch crown for 30 seconds.

2. Body responses

Another helpful feature you can add is the body responses tile, which monitors your body for stress or excitement by keeping tabs on your heart rate, micro sweat levels, and skin temperature. These indicators are tracked as your body responds to different moments throughout the day and will notify you if it senses a body response that could indicate stress. You can also “check-in” with the app by logging your mood (selecting from stressed, worried, sad, frustrated, calm, etc.).

3. Exercises

I’m a fairly active person. I split my weeks between running and rowing and like to keep tabs on those workouts with my watch. Although the Pixel Watch 2 can automatically sense if you’re exercising, it can’t delineate the type of exercise that’s going on. Because of that, I always initiate the specific kind of exercise I’m doing. 

Also: The best Android smartwatches you can buy, according to our testing

One nice thing about the Pixel Watch 2 is that you can select from a large number of different types of exercise, such as running, walking, treadmill, rowing, aerobics, biking, boot camp, canoeing, circuit training, core training, cross country skiing, CrossFit, dancing, elliptical, and more. As you use this feature the Fitbit app (which you should also install on your phone) will collect the data and keep you apprised of how you’re doing.

4. Sleep

I do best with between 6.5 and 7 hours of sleep every night. By checking my sleep details on my watch’s sleep app, I can see if I’m staying within my ideal range. But the sleep app gives me more information than just the hours I’ve slept. I can get a summary of the evening’s rest that includes awake, REM, light, and deep sleep. 

According to Healthline, most adults need between 1.5-2 hours of deep sleep per night. I rarely get that much deep sleep (my average is more like 50-60 minutes of deep sleep per night. The CDC claims that 25% of sleep should be of the deep sort and your Pixel Watch can help you keep track of that. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your health and well-being will suffer. Make sure to check your sleep stats daily.

5. Heart rate

Finally, there’s the good old heart rate monitor. I always select a dial for my watch that includes my heart rate because I’m always checking it. When my heart rate goes above 80, I’m either exercising or stressed. If I’m not exercising and the rate climbs, I know I need to change whatever it is I’m doing, otherwise I could risk a negative impact on my health. By keeping a check on your heart rate, you can start to see patterns and even take action to prevent your heart rate from rising when it shouldn’t.

Also: You can use Pixel Watch to track your heart rate with your Peloton 

These five apps will go a long way to help you get control of your health and well-being. They might not solve your problems but they’ll at least get you on the right track. Start using one or more of these features and see if you don’t find an improvement in your quality of life.