These days, life can get pretty hectic. From juggling a demanding job, to squeezing in sweat sessions, to finding time to do the things that make you feel happier, healthier and more content, every single day. And while I’m lucky enough to have scored my dream job, on a brand that’s devoted to health, wellness and fitness, at times (even for me) that balance can get a little, well, off-kilter. Between training for my first marathon at the end of July (exciting, but also mildly terrifying) and work days that are occasionally so hectic, enjoying a poke bowl al desko (or a hastily drunk green juice) is considered a win, I’m always on the lookout for new tech that promises to make life easier.
So when the shiny new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active arrived on my desk (designed to do everything from track my sleep and mix up my workouts to help manage my to-do list), I was intrigued. So I strapped it on, got clued up and tested it out for a week. Here are the top five things I loved about it, and why…
1. I FELT CALMER
Once upon a time, stress was something that cropped up occasionally. Now, for most women, it’s a constant. And one of the easiest ways to take the pressure down? A few deep, mindful breaths. As science and experts confirm, diaphragmatic breathing instantly gets our crazy-busy systems back to a calmer, more zen place. Hit the “red zone” and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active will remind you to take a moment (with six rounds of breathing exercises) then measure your stress levels again afterwards. I used it multiple times throughout the day: In the car (trapped in city traffic), at my desk (when my inbox threatened to overflow) and even between appointments. And felt better for it, every single time. Genius!
2. I RAN FOR LONGER (AND FELT MORE MOTIVATED)
With the weekend long run now a regular part of my marathon training, a killer playlist is key. Firstly, to keep me going as I clock up the kays and, second, to distract from all the heavy breathing! My one major bugbear? Having to run with my phone. But no more. This clever smartwatch comes with in-built Spotify, so you can save your favourite playlists on your wrist, pair the watch with Bluetooth headphones, then simply head out the door*. With a steady diet of everything from Calvin Harris to (no judgement) old school Guns N Roses, I smashed Saturday’s required 24km feeling stronger and more focused. Even better? It automatically saves and records your workout, so I could analyse my stats (and track my progress) after every run. Good to know? It also tracks your heart rate, synchs to apps like Strava, has built-in GPS and can even be used for cycling, strength and ocean-based workouts, since it’s water resistant. That’s one clever (and multi-tasking) device.
3. I SLEPT BETTER
With 5am get-ups now a non-negotiable part of the mix (thanks to regular, early morning workouts before hitting the office), I’ve had to seriously adjust my old sleep patterns. Getting sucked into the TV vortex (and watching just one more episode of Stranger Things on Netflix) is no longer an option. One of the most innovative features on the new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active? Its sleep-monitoring capabilities. It tracks the four main stages of sleep: Awake, REM, Light and Deep, so you can see at a glance how much you’ve clocked up of each during the night**. Meaning you wake up to a clearer picture of your sleep patterns, and can make tweaks accordingly. Whether that’s limiting screen time pre-bed (to give your brain a chance to switch off), or making sure you’re going to bed (and getting up) at a consistent time each day. It even rewards you with a gratifying, high-vibe “Congratulations!” message direct to your watch face if you stick to the ideal bedtime you’ve set. Nothing like a bit of positive reinforcement to make those new health and wellbeing habits stick.
4. I WAS MORE PRODUCTIVE
Two of the biggest buzzwords in work wellness right now are “efficiency” and “productivity”. And it turns out that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active can help with both. I’m an old-fashioned girl at heart and often rely on the hand-written to-do list, emailing random reminders to myself at all hours! The Galaxy Watch Active allowed me to keep merge them all into the one place, and prioritise what was most urgent. In another plus, I could even receive emails direct to my wrist, so I don’t miss a message. Another lifesaver? Of late, I’ve been making a conscious effort not to take my phone to meetings. The one downside? Remembering where I need to be next. Like a virtual personal assistant, this trusty piece of arm candy allows you to access your calendar on the go, and arrive on time, every time. What’s not to love?
5. AND GOT MY STRETCH ON MORE OFTEN
With so much running on the agenda, I’ve been struggling to hit the mat and squeeze in at least one yoga session per week, as requested by my coach – and my outrageously tight hamstrings! While making it to the gym for a dedicated 60-minute class has been proving tricky, what did work was busting out Downward Dogs (and Sun Salutes) at home. So I tried a new strategy. I set a reminder a few mornings a week, and did a combination of yoga and stretching for 15 minutes. Plus, when time permitted, I added a few cheeky strength moves (like planks, arm curls and lunges, essential for glute strength) for good measure. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active records them for you, and every little bit counts. The result? More workout variety, and a happier body. Last but not least? In a nod to the global personalisation craze, you can customise your watch face, and there is a satisfyingly pretty pink, green and blue heart, which displays your Daily Activity. In addition to looking great, it’s a constant visual reminder to fit in that workout, get up from your desk (and fill that water bottle) and get your steps up, in any way you can. In short, this watch is a win for wellness-seekers everywhere. And I, for one, am among them. Week-long mission, accomplished.
* Internet connection required to access Spotify. Subscription and data charges may apply. Samsung Galaxy Watch active has approximately 1.5 GB of user-accessible internal memory (depends on pre-installed content). Requires Spotify Premium account to save playlists.
** Galaxy watch active is not a medical/therapeutic device. Fitness and health functions are for informational purposes only.
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