Whether you discovered a love of running in lockdown or had a much-needed break, the recent opening of pools, gyms and fitness centres in the UK and beyond means a host of alternative forms of exercise will once again be readily available to us. Get ready with a smart watch which not only maximises performance but can also look after your physical and mental health, with our pick of the best below.


Skagen watch

Danish brand Skagen eschews superfluous details which could slow down performance, making it a practical choice for a sports watch which also looks good. The Skagen Falster 3 runs efficiently, with smarter battery modes then its predecessor and double the storage. Wear OS by Google software and new speaker functionality means both Android and iPhone users can take calls from their Bluetooth-enabled watch, as well as play music and ‘chat’ to the Google Assistant. The efficiency stretches to the layout, which will offer handy fitness information – progress towards goals, a heart rate check or the quick start of a workout which can be viewed with a swipe left. Good for all activity, the watch is now waterproof to 30 metres and also auto-installs Cardiogram, which converts your heart rate data into interactive charts which can help identify weak spots to target.


Withings watch

Withings’ ScanWatch takes your health very seriously, conscientiously tracking activity and automatically recognising which form of exercise is being taken. Comprehensive fitness assessments also come as standard thanks to its VO2 Max indicator (measuring how easily your body converts oxygen into energy), which makes it easy to optimise training. It is as a health tool where this watch really shines, however, and an in-depth cardiovascular health monitoring programme means it can spot the signs of both sleep apnea and arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) early. If the watch notices an abnormal health rate, or the user suspects symptoms, a quick touch on both sides of the bezel will activate three built-in electrodes which will perform a thirty-second ECG, the results of which you can save and take to your doctor.


Samsung watch

The Galaxy Watch Active2 takes a more well-rounded approach to health and fitness with an emphasis on wellness that goes beyond comprehensive workout stats (although those are here too). As well as tracking stress levels, it offers guided meditation programmes through an integration with the Calm app, as well as putting an emphasis on sleep patterns with more efficient sleep analysis tools. A competent all-rounder, it also lets you do most of the things you would expect from a smartphone, with the ability to film videos, use Samsung Pay and wirelessly charge.


Fossil watch

Fossil’s Gen 5 smartwatch in stainless steel, like Skagen’s Falster 3, comes with a host of useful functions thanks to a link-up with Google’s Wear OS software. Swim-proof and with an activity and heart rate tracker and long battery life, this does the essentials well, making it the ideal fitness companion. §