Between the lockdowns and health guidelines of the past year, many of us found ourselves unable to hit the gym or even keep up our outdoor exercise routines. Thankfully, fitness technology has evolved to the point of supporting daily – and much longer term – health goals with a surprising degree of adaptability.

James Jackson, the head of health and fitness at Paramount Recreation Club in Surry Hills, has seen a marked increase not just in fitness tech but what its capable of.

Baseline tracking – and more
It starts with a baseline of tracking your steps, measuring your heart rate, and helping you follow through on goals with firm data at your fingertips. But these days your smart watch also offers similar functions to your smartphone such as cellular connectivity and the ability to pair your watch with your headphones to play your favourite music when you workout.

“Fitness wearables are an extra tool to optimise health and get a day-to-day understanding of how your body’s operating,” says Jackson. “It makes our health goals easier: all the information is there in one device. It’s telling you when is good to work out, how you’re feeling, how recovered you are.”

Shareable access
These devices aren’t meant to replace a fitness club or personal trainer, but rather to add crucial balance to your existing routine. “Most of my clients have a fitness wearable that I can check on a daily basis, or they can send me reports,” Jackson says, noting the data can reflect the body’s condition more accurately than how a person might actually feel. “They might wake up feeling fantastic, but really their body’s not as recovered as it should be. Or vice versa.”

Having worked through covid restrictions with the benefit of Paramount Recreation Club’s open-air, greenery-flanked rooftop, Jackson knows that fitness is as much about how you feel as it is about nailing personal goals. Aiming to curate a space “with likeminded, positive people that can feel a sense of community”, he points to the club’s motto: “Come as you are, leave a little better.”

And even when you can’t physically make it to the club, a piece of fitness tech is something you can access 24/7. “Having a structured program is almost like having a personal trainer within your watch,” he says. “People are spending more time inside with work, so we’re breaking up the day with a workout. You don’t want to have to think about it: the ‘coach’ is there.”

Functions to match your outcomes
When choosing a smart watch, consider what your goals are. It will help to decide which features you need and what you want to track. Functions such as sleep management can provide you with full details about the various stages of sleep, the “number one tool for both physical and cognitive recovery,” says Jackson.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 also has the capacity to monitor blood oxygen levels via LED and infrared rays, bolstering its sleep management, running analysis and cardio tracking functions. While popular with athletes such as climbers and ultramarathon runners, Jackson says the feature is designed to help people estimate their oxygen saturation.

A tool to help you help yourself
Certain models of the watch also feature cellular connectivity, meaning you can stream, chat, message and make calls without towing your phone along on your workout. It also allows access to hundreds of apps, including the Samsung Health app – an all-in-one fitness and wellness app that can count steps, track fitness activities, monitor your nutrition and even help manage stress levels – and a stocked library of more than 120 video workouts, which you can cast to your TV or phone.

As Jackson says, these features are about taking the guesswork out of fitness. Since you can check the data and opt for restorative yoga or a slow bike ride instead of a riskier workout, there’s less risk of overextending yourself. After all, he says, “Why wouldn’t you want to be optimal?”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Samsung.