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My New Year’s Resolution: Get Healthy

At the end of a year when COVID-19 has taken center stage, it can be easy to forget about the many other factors that impact health. As we head towards 2021, it’s important for people to learn more about their health and what better way than through features built directly into iPhone and Apple Watch. Below are  nine easy steps you can take on iPhone and Apple Watch to check in on your health from home.

1. Apple Watch can tell you your cardio fitness level

Did you know Apple Watch can estimate your cardio fitness, based on measurements taken as you move throughout the day? VO2 max, or cardiorespiratory fitness, is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise, and a higher VO2 max indicates a higher level of cardio fitness and endurance. 

Apple Watch can now measure an expanded range of cardio fitness levels, including low ranges which have required clinical testing in the past. Soon you will also be able to review your cardio fitness level based on your age and sex, so it can be categorized in one of four ranges: high, above average, below average, or low. You can also receive a notification if your cardio fitness reaches a low level, so you have motivation to build in a little more movement each day. 

2. Aspire to sleep more

We all know how crucial sleep is to our health. Now Apple Watch and iPhone can help you stick to your sleep goals by guiding you through a bedtime routine. The new Wind Down feature allows you to create a customized routine before bed at a designated time, so you can easily listen to a soothing soundscape, use a favorite meditation app or write in your journal, and get to bed on time. To set it up, visit the Sleep section of the Health app, tap Get Started under Set Up Sleep and follow the onscreen prompts.

3. Meditate more in 2021

The holiday season is always stressful, and it may be especially stressful this year. The Breathe app on Apple Watch, along with iPhone and Apple Watch apps like Ten Percent Happier Meditation, Calm and Shine, guide us in finding moments of open attention to the present, and can connect directly with the Health app so you can track how many Mindful Minutes you’re taking next to the rest of your health information. Find more great meditation apps here.

4. Let Apple Watch hold you to your goals

Improving your fitness in the new year doesn’t necessarily require a complete lifestyle change if you don't want one — it just starts with a little more movement each day. If you have Apple Watch, you’re likely already trying to close your rings. Remember you have the option to increase or decrease your Move, Stand and Exercise goals to keep yourself motivated (learn how here), and to select a calorie, time or distance goal every time you start a workout.

5. Keep tabs on your menstrual cycle

The Cycle Tracking feature in your iPhone's Health app and on Apple Watch gives you the ability to log important information related to your menstrual cycle and see predicted timing for your next period and fertile window. Easily log current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation test results and other elements of fertility tracking. Rest assured that like the rest of your health information, everything you log is encrypted on device.

You are now able to log factors that can impact your menstrual cycle and fertile windows, like pregnancy, lactation and hormonal contraceptives, so your predictions adjust accordingly.

6. Wash for 20 seconds, every time

We can all be guilty of shorting our handwashing sessions sometimes, but it’s more important than ever these days to spend the right amount of time scrubbing. With watchOS 7, Apple Watch can now automatically detect handwashing motion and sounds, and start a 20-second countdown timer that will encourage you to keep washing if you stop early. You can even set up reminders to wash your hands when you return home.

7. Protect your hearing

We may not be attending concerts or visiting many loud indoor restaurants these days, but that doesn’t mean our headphone audio levels don't have the potential to impact our hearing over the long term. Easily check whether your headphone audio levels over the past seven days fall within WHO recommendations by visiting the Hearing section of the Health app.

8. Medical ID can help you in an emergency

Medical ID is simple to set up, and can make a big difference in an emergency by helping first responders immediately access your critical medical information like allergies and medical conditions directly on the Lock screen of your iPhone or on your Apple Watch. Learn how to set it up in the Health app here.

You can also specify emergency contacts, so close friends or family will receive a message and your location when you use the Emergency SOS feature on iPhone or Apple Watch.

9. Run through this bonus checklist

Visit the Health Checklist within the Health app for an easy way to ensure you’ve enabled Medical ID, Emergency SOS, fall detection, and other important features on iPhone and Apple Watch, all in one place. Learn how here.

If you have Apple Watch, make sure you’re looking out for your heart health by turning on irregular rhythm notifications and low and high heart rate notifications. By enabling these features, you make it possible for Apple Watch to opportunistically check your heart rhythm in the background for signs of irregularities. If you receive an alert, you can act right away by taking an electrocardiogram from your wrist with the ECG app, then bringing that information to your doctor.

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