Fitness Technology

13 Ways Apple’s Health App Tracks Your Life That You Didn’t Know About

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Stocksy/Hernandez & Sorokina
Apple's Health app keeps track of your heart rate, daily step count, and sleep. But that's just the beginning. You can use it to track other parts of your life in order to improve your mood, skin, bowel movements, and more.

The lesser-known Health app tracking features are really easy to find. To access them, simply open up the app, tap on "Edit" under Favorites, then tap "All." Instead of the just seeing the more heavily-promoted features, you'll have a long list of options you can favorite and add to your main Summary screen. Here are 13 all-star features to get you started.

13 ways Apple's Health app tracks your life

1. Teeth brushing

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes per session. The Health app can help you keep track of that, allowing you to manually enter how long you brushed each day. Or, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush, it enters the data for you.

2. Period-tracking

There are plenty of period-tracking apps out there, but the Health app can track your cycle, too. By logging your cycles, the app predicts when you'll get your next period, your fertile window, and more. Everything is also shown on a timeline, making it easy to see all of the data laid out in one place.

3. Hand washing

Washing your hands has never been more important. Experts recommend lathering up with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to wash away any germs lurking on your skin, and you can track how many times you wash your hands each day—as well as for how long—right on the app.

4. Walking distance

Our phones are always in hand. While that's not always beneficial, there is a perk to being connected 24/7:  The Health app tracks your walking and running distance and gives you a daily average, as well as tells you how well you're doing compared to previous weeks. (There's a way you can calculate wheelchair distance, too.)

5. Standing minutes

"Research shows that our metabolism starts to slow, and our risk for metabolic disease actually increases, if we consistently sit for over 30 minutes at a time," says exercise psychologist Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS. "Sitting, or sedentary time, is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well."

The Health app tracks your standing minutes—aka the minutes in each hour you're standing and moving—to let you see how sedentary or active you are. Even better, if you have an Apple Watch, it will track and log everything for you.

6. Acne

There are many reasons why people experience acne, from what you're eating to mensuration. If you're not sure what's causing pimples to pop up, you can start logging data on the Health app. Whenever you're experiencing a breakout, enter the severity, start, and end. Then, over time, you might be able to determine the cause and address it. The app also allows you to track dry skin.

7. Mood changes

If you feel like your mood is really up and down, start tracking it on the Health app. Anytime you experience a mood change, you can log the start time and end. If there's a pattern, you're better able to identify the reason behind your mood changes: It could be due to hormones, depression, and other issues that are important to address with your doctor.

8. Bowel movements

If you're often constipated or experience diarrhea, you can track both issues right on the Health app. From there, it's easier to determine what the cause is, including your diet, activity levels, dehydration, or a health problem. You can also track bloating.

9. Sexual activity

What's the perk to tracking your sexual activity, you ask? It can affect both your physical and emotional health, so keeping a record could be beneficial if you ever need to compare it with your other data. You can also track vaginal dryness.

10. Nutrition

There are so many ways you can better your nutrition by using the Health app. You're able to log all your daily vitamins (and how much you take of each), how much caffeine you're drinking, things like protein, carbs, and sugar, and more. It's a great way to ensure you're giving your body what it needs to keep you feeling your best.

11. Water intake

If you don't feel like you're drinking enough water every day, using the app is a simple way to keep track. Every time you drink another bottle or glass, log the time and how much. That way, you'll know how well you're doing (and if you need to up your intake).

12. Mindful minutes

Practicing mindfulness—or focusing your awareness on the present moment—can help you feel less stressed, anxious, boost you mood... the benefits are endless. It can even better your relationships. To make sure you're practicing mindfulness during the day, make it your mission to log at least one period on the Health app. It could even be 20 minutes enjoying your morning coffee phone-free. Over time, continue increasing those mindful minutes. By doing so, you'll live more in the moment and spend less time on autopilot.

13. Appetite changes

There are many reasons behind a change in your appetite, from stress to nutritional deficiencies. Whenever you experience appetite changes, log them in your app: You can enter the day, time, and whether your appetite has increased or decreased.

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