Tips on how to keep active and exercise safely using your Garmin smartwatch

As this is quite a unique and stressful time for many, lots of people are turning to exercise to keep themselves occupied and staying well. This article will aim to give you some ideas on how to make the best use of your Garmin watch, but we do recommend checking with your local .gov website to make sure you’re not breaking any quarantine rules.

Indoor Exercise and Workouts possible to complete while in lockdown or isolation

Most Garmin fitness watches have a plethora of indoor exercise tracking programs and some of the more recent models like the fenix 6, venu and vivoactive 4 have animated workouts that you can follow along to make sure you’re completing the exercise correctly.

For indoor training, you have plenty of options on how to make use of your watch and get the most out of your exercise or workout:

  • If your watch has an optical heart rate monitor
    • You can track your sleep cycle and determine whether you have a healthy sleep cycle or if you need to change some behaviours
    • Stress tracking – this will measure how ‘stressed’ you are over the course of the day, your stress level is determined by how high your heart rate is without being active
    • It can also track your resting heart rate to give you an overall health score
  • If your watch has a pulse ox sensor
    • The pulse ox sensor measures your blood’s oxygen saturation level; this information can help to tell you if your body is undergoing a health issue. Typically you should have a score of 95% this may vary depending on your current health condition but if you have been sitting at 95% then drop to below 92% this may be cause for concern.
  • Move indicator
    • Most Garmin watches have this feature built-in to remind you to move and stretch every 20-30 minutes. This can be particularly useful if you’re working from home to prevent you from being too sedentary.
  • Indoor Exercise Equipment
    • You can track your performance on a range of indoor exercise equipment like an indoor rowing machine, indoor cycle, treadmill, elliptical, stair stepper.

Free workouts from Garmin without the need for any equipment

The Garmin Connect App itself has a range of workouts available to download to your watch for strength, yoga, cardio and Pilates workouts depending on your preference. All of these come in beginner, intermediate or expert as well as focusing on specific parts of the body. These workouts are only available on certain watches, listed below.

To begin a workout just press the button on your watch to bring up your activity menu (usually the top button on the side of the watch)

Activity Menu on Garmin vivoactive 4
Activity Menu on Garmin vivoactive 4

From there you will just click on one of the workout-based activities (strength, yoga, Pilates)

Strength Activity Menu
Strength Activity Menu

Once you’ve clicked just press up or if you have a touchscreen scroll up to bring up the menu that allows you select which workout you would like to do.

If you want to download more workouts you can do this via Garmin Connect Mobile. To do so, open your Garmin Connect mobile app. Open the side menu then select training, then workouts, then find a workout. Once you’ve found a workout you would like, select that workout and press save to my workouts. From there go back to the workout menu select the new workout you just added and press ‘send to device’. As long as your watch is nearby and connected to your phone this will sync the new workout automatically.

Free Garmin workouts available
Free Garmin workouts available

You can also create your own custom workouts and if the exercise is part of Garmin’s database it will come with the animate or graphic for that exercise. This works for yoga, Pilates and strength exercises. I've added a quick video example below of what one of the yoga workouts is like.

Which watches are compatible with Garmin workouts?

Vivoactive 3, vivoactive 3 music, forerunner 245, Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945, fenix 5, fenix 5 plus, fenix 6, MARQ, vivoactive 4, Garmin venu

Watches that are compatible with Garmin workouts and come with animated guides

Fenix 6, vivoactive 4, Garmin venu

These workouts are only the guided programs by Garmin if you already have equipment at home

*The information above is correct as of 3/04/2020

What else can I use the watch for?

  • Calories burned
  • Hydration tracking (manually track liquid intake with the widget on the watch or in-app.
  • Breath RPM
  • Calibrating distance
  • Control music via your watch (playing through your headphones or Bluetooth speaker)

Training Outside – Where allowed

This topic is subject to change, as there are some states and territories have different rules. Check your current lockdown rules before going outside on your local .gov website.

Run Activity

Most Garmin watches that have GPS functionality will come loaded with a return to home navigation. This function just became a whole lot more useful as it will allow you to easily travel the less popular routes without worrying about how to get back. I love to use this feature as I'll usually start my run by going in random directions for half my target distance then simply set my watch to return home and run back. This is a fun way to discover new areas without getting lost and letting you focus on the run and not keeping tracking of where you've been.

You also have access to Garmin's built-in running training programs and coaches. Much like the workout, this is only available to the watches I've listed above but takes you through a bunch of different training programs to help you run different marathon levels.

Garmin Marathon Training Plans
Garmin Marathon Training Plans
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