Samsung S Health hasn’t always played nice with other wearables – in fact it’s only last year that the platform has been made available outside Samsung phones (still Android only, no iOS) and only this year that support has been added for third party activity tracking apps from Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Microsoft Health, Runkeeper and Strava.
That doesn’t mean it’s got everything down to a science though. Fitbit integration will only share sleep data with S Health while Strava will only let you share exercise data.
S Health is compatible with all Samsung devices where connected wearables will automatically sync data. While there’s no online platform like other fitness apps, it still offers a decent selection of features for planning, tracking and reviewing your workouts. If you’re a beginner runner prepping for a marathon, weight lifter or yoga enthusiast, chances are S Health has a tool for you along with helpful tips to stay active.
For Gear S2 or Gear Fit2 users, here are some of the best tricks we’ve discovered that can help you utilize the full potential of Samsung S Health.
Measure your vitals
You usually have to stick your gender, age, weight, height and exercise levels when first starting most fitness apps, and S Health is no different.
Just as we recommend with Garmin Connect and Polar Flow, customizing your info plus heart rate zones will help get you the most accurate training data.
S Health isn’t as comprehensive as the other two platforms but it does let you enter heart rate from your wearable or mobile device. There’s also an oxygen saturation monitor which it measures by taking heart rate, to determine the concentration of oxygen in your blood. Stress, blood pressure and blood glucose are also other data points you can manually enter or use heart rate tracking to glean information.
Create training plans
Under manage items, you’ll find a huge list of activities you can add to your main dashboard. On the top, selecting ‘Programs’ will take you to four different training plans for running.
You’ll get an overview of the amount of workouts and duration laid out for you. Choose the one that fits you, enter a start date and customize what days you’re able to work out. You can also view the workout schedule to see what each week will entail. S Health will also detail the weeks, showing you when you’ll need to push harder and increasing the running time.
It’s not the most intensive set of plans but it’ll do the job for those who want to stick with stock S Health features. For other options, see the ‘Connect apps’ section.
Set goals for basic workouts
The app lets you set a lot goals – so make use of each one. It can be a little overwhelming but the specificity can help make the training go smoother.
Running, for instance, lets you choose between 10 paces and five other targets. Pacing is divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Choosing one basically sets a timer for how long you’ll be running, what kind of coach S Health will employ. The levels are also split between walking, light jogging/running, calorie burning, speed increasing and endurance.
Then head to the targets. From here, you can customize the distance, duration, burned calories, training effect or select a basic workout.
In manage items, you can also customize three goals simultaneously so you can exercise, eat and sleep better.
For all the other exercises, you can customize duration and burned calorie targets or others depending on the activity. This should help you ease into working out for beginners or up the ante for those more experienced.
Set sleep targets
The internal gyroscope inside Samsung’s wearables is capable of detecting any kind of movement, including each time you move in your sleep. If you haven’t already, before sleeping put on your Gear Fit2 and connect it to your smartphone (Gear S2 doesn’t track sleep).
From the apps screen, you can tap S Health and select sleep. Tap record sleep. In the morning, tap ‘I’m Awake.’ To review your sleep patterns for the last 30 days, open the S Health app on your smartphone.
You can also manually input your sleep hours and rate how well you’ve slept for a generalized picture.
The Fit2 app can help give a better idea of your sleep quality in the night by monitoring your tossing and turning automatically.
Like most other fitness apps, S Health will let you manually input food. It’s not MyFitnessPal but it’s the same idea. The app will also let you know what a good target is based on your personal stats and how much you exercise, or you can set your own.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks are all options you can input. After you specify what kind of food and the portion you had, S Health automatically adds these calories to your day’s consumption. If you forgot to add something, edit at any time by changing the date and time to when you had the meal – or add on the meal itself.
All of this will help ensure you don’t over do it which is especially helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, or on a diet plan for marathon training and trying to reach a caloric intake goal.
It’s great motivation and more fun knowing you’re not alone trying to stay active so it’s no surprise Samsung has added a little friendly competition to S Health. Fitbit, Jawbone and other have seen great success with the addition of communities and communal challenges.
With S Health, you can use ‘Together’ to set targets with friends, check their statuses and compete.
To do so, find your friends and add the step challenges feature through manage items then accept or send out invites to begin the competition. There are also leaderboards you can check.
It’s already been mentioned that S Health can connect to more apps than ever before. ‘Partner apps’ can be downloaded and installed to use with S Health. Afterwards, you can add the various apps to your dashboard (S Health even gives you a little prompt).
From here, you can download many more apps to make your S Health dashboard into a unified hub.
Leave your phone at home
Chances are your Gear S2 or Gear Fit2 will be able to handle the heavy duty tracking meaning you can leave your phone at home. The latter wearable is able to do a bit more in terms of fitness tracking, where GPS and more work out options are available. However the 3G version of the S2 has GPS. All three devices have music storage as well so you can listen to music without your phone nearby. Once home though, your tracker will sync up all your data to the S Health app after you open it (auto-syncing would just suck the battery from all your devices faster so it’s best to leave that off).