Whether it’s the belief that you have to surrender your body to circuit training in order to get a ‘real’ workout or the claim that yoga helps you sleep, people have strong beliefs when it comes to working out for your health.
And despite being a workout polyamorist, enjoying many types of exercise, I’ve never actually bothered to track what each one does to my body and mind.
In a bid to do just that, I armed myself with the Samsung Galaxy Watch5, ready to take a holistic look at how different workouts come into play and whether I can adjust my lifestyle accordingly.
Here’s how I got on…
Scrolling through ClassPass, I decided to kick things off with a baptism of fire.
Signing myself up for a high impact boxing class (the day after a boozy dinner, no less) I decided I needed more than sheer willpower to get me through this one.
Ignoring my mother’s warnings, I grabbed an energy drink and got going.
Interestingly, my heart rate increased by five beats between that time and going into the studio. Whether that was nerves or the caffeine and sugar spike is up for debate.
As for the boxing itself, my heart rate continued to climb and my smartwatch told me I had burnt over 400 calories, which was all data that I used to plan a substantial post-workout dinner to rebuild muscle and strength.
Time for a change of tack.
I’ve always found it hard to ignore my better judgement and go to bed at a reasonable hour instead of watching random women’s skincare routines and storytimes on TikTok for hours.
A major draw of the Galaxy Watch5 is its sophisticated sleep tracking features*, which look at everything from your snoring to time spent in REM to calculate how well you slept via a Sleep Score measured out of 100.
After a typically unsatisfying weeknight sleep, registering as a very average 62 Sleep Score, I decided to see if yoga really was the sleep saviour many claim it to be.
I opted for yin yoga, a slow-paced style of the practice that encourages deep stretching and holding poses for minutes at a time, to see if it could give me a decent night’s rest.
I chose an evening class to help kick off my bedtime routine and heeded every piece of sleep advice we’ve heard hundreds of times, putting my screens away well before I hit the pillow.
The result? I definitely felt sharper the next morning without the need for chain coffees and my Sleep Score had indeed crept up to 70.
While it’s ambitious to commit to a full-time yin yoga and scrolling-free nighttime routine, I’m definitely going to keep it in my arsenal for those nights I’m feeling particularly sleep-deprived.
3. Reformer pilates
I’ve always been interested in reformer pilates and the equipment that resembles some kind of medieval torture device, but have always opted out in favour of something more cardio-heavy, feeling as though it’s more of a workout.
Fifty minutes later, with my muscles throbbing and my kit drenched in sweat, it’s fair to say my pilates snobbery has been put to bed.
The combination of the reformer platform’s weighted springs and the repetition of movements makes it surprisingly challenging, while the practice itself is supposed to lengthen the muscles and make you more flexible.
If I keep it up, I’ll also be able to get a read on exactly what kind of good it’s doing, thanks to the Galaxy Watch5’s feature for measuring body composition**. With a sensor that can measure everything from body fat to skeletal muscle, I’ll be able to keep an eye on how those sessions on the reformer are impacting my stats over time.
If it’s anything like as effective as it feels while you’re doing it, I’ll definitely be keeping it as part of my regime going forwards.
I’ve always seen walking as more of a means to an end.
Without a destination, what’s the point? But in the interest of research, I put the whole ‘Go for a walk, it’ll make you feel better’ theory into action.
With a midway croissant stop as motivation, I set out on a Sunday morning stroll, choosing the greenest, leafiest option possible.
My smartwatch automatically detected that I was doing some serious walking after 10 minutes and while I might not have made any serious gains in terms of muscle mass, the act itself helped me gather my thoughts and made for a gentle rest day activity.
I also noticed that I spent longer in the deep sleep stage that night, which could indicate my afternoon walk benefited my mind as well as my body.
In a world of unyielding stimulation and all manner of activities on my doorstep, the case for altering my workouts to create the perfect holistic blend is pretty strong.
While I can’t change my entire lifestyle, I’ll certainly be slotting more gentle exercise into my routine when I need a better sleep.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how different types of workouts I’d previously written off can impact my body composition in the long run. For now, I’ll be working on that 100 Sleep Score…
Gear up with the watch that knows you best and use the Galaxy Watch5 to track your nutrition, exercise, heart rate***, sleep and more all in one place.
* Compatible Smartphone required.
** Intended for general wellness and fitness purposes. Not intended for use in detection, diagnoses, treatment of any medical condition or disease. Do not measure your body composition if you are pregnant, have an implanted pacemaker or other implanted medical devices.
*** ECG and BP feature only to be used by 22 years+. For accurate BP readings, monthly calibration required by GP or BP monitor & arm cuff.