Why you should get a gym membership instead of an Apple Watch

runningIf you think getting an Apple Watch will improve your fitness, think again.

Apple might be gunning the health and fitness aspects of its new Apple Watch, but is it really the push you need to make 2015 the year you finally get fit?

In their usual fashion, Apple are being overly secretive about the specifics of the Apple Watch, but here’s what we know so far: using a three ring snapshot of your daily activity, you’ll be able to see how many calories you’ve burned, how much exercise you’ve done, and if you stood up at least once an hour for twelve hours of the day. (Sitting is the new smoking, after all.) Complete enough of any of the three, and you’ll ‘complete the ring’, and earn yourself a pat on the back.

We also know that Apple will monitor your activity levels, and suggest personalised and realistic goals each week.

The thing is, will it actually get you fit and healthy? Perhaps not.

“It's a great way to get people moving if they’re not already,” says Sophie Gray, trainer at Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre and Sydney University Sport and Fitness, leading classes in Body Pump, Body Attack, RPM, and CXWORX. “It’s less mentally stressful, whereas signing up to a class or a trainer can be overwhelming.”

“But it depends on what your goals are. Walking for 30 minutes a day won’t improve your fitness much.”

When released, the Apple Watch will be competing with the ever popular Fitbit, a wrist device that tracks the number of steps you achieve in a day. The relatively achievable goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day, which might be all the motivation you need to go for an extra walk around the block. Studies show that incidental exercise is key to weight loss and general fitness all round – which is where tracking devices like the Apple Watch come in to play – but will it really get you achieving your health and fitness goals?

Apple Watch Stand Notification“I’m a strong believer in not doing the bare minimum, and walking each day is doing the bare minimum,” says Sophie. “You’re probably not being pushed, and in a class or a gym there’s someone there to push you.”

Then of course there’s the fact that just by signing up for a gym membership or class, you’ve already made yourself accountable. You’ve paid up, now you might as well show up.

The pure act of buying an Apple Watch won’t make you fit, any more than splurging on brand new exercise gear will. Sure, being decked head-to-toe in Lululemon’s latest offerings might make you look like a kale-juice consuming, upside down meditating yoga instructor, but it won’t make your Sun Salute any better than the person sporting old leggings next to you. The Apple Watch (particularly the Apple Sport) might just be the latest craze in fitness accessories: its value is just as much in showing others that you work out as it actually helps your workout.

Studies show walking, particularly in nature, is good for your mental health, but it might not be the same for your waistline. However, don’t discount a harder workout for gaining similar mental health benefits.

“When you go to classes and push yourself to overcome challenges that can seem impossible (hello, burpee tuck jumps), you also start to learn that you can cope with difficult things in life,” says Sophie, who also runs her own counselling practise, Think Gray.

“I think people gain more perspective and self belief.”

While the Apple Watch – or any wearable, for that matter – might be there to monitor and motivate you with your personal goals, you have to be personally committed to exercise. Just like any other accessory, it’s not going to do the work for you.

So if you’re already fairly active and want to monitor and improve your fitness, by all means by one (and check out the full list of apps available on the Apple Watch here) . It might be the best option for you.

And if you’re currently living a sedentary lifestyle and want to start making those small changes, it might also be a good step.

But if you really want to improve your health and fitness, join a gym. Find a class. Sign up to a personal trainer. Get a running buddy. Follow any one of these healthy lifestyle tips.

The best part? The Apple Watch will soon be old technology, but being healthy will never go out of style.

Photo via weheartit.

Alex Bruce-Smith

Alex Bruce-Smith is a publisher at finder.com.au, taking care of shopping & travel. She funds her addiction to online shopping by hunting coupon codes like a pro, and can usually be found waiting anxiously for a package to arrive. #notevensorry

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