Sure, you can use the Apple Watch to track your exercise habits or get notifications. Then again, you can also strap to your body and see what happens when you're hurtled down a 215-foot drop at 80 miles per hour.
Exercise isn't really my thing. So to really give my Apple Watch -- and my vitals -- a workout I brought it along on a trip with friends to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey to see how my heart would fare. From the steep drop of Nitro to the nausea-inducing twirl of the teacups, I had the smartwatch on hand to track my heart throughout the entire day.
To put in perspective, I took my resting heartrate before I hopped on my first coaster for the day, measuring in at 64 beats per minute. My heart would hardly return to that level until hours after I left the park. BPM: 64
We started with a biggie: Six Flags' giant steel rollercoaster most likely to separate you from your lunch. At the time there was a light drizzle and the lines were extremely short. To be honest, part of me was more concerned that my giant iPhone 6 Plus would stay in my pocket. The first drop has you falling for at least 10 seconds -- about time to utter "holy sh--" -- and from there you're rushing up and down, taking tight curves battering your kidneys and your inner ear until it mercifully comes to a stop.
Since I was pretty much blinded with fear and holding on for dear life, there was no way to check the watch during the ride, but at the end I took my phone out for a quick picture and checked my heart rate with the watch. It had nearly doubled and my adrenaline-filled day was off to a good start. BPM: 110
Next up was Batman: the Ride, a 50MPH hanging coaster which sends riders through several loops, corkscrews and spins for nearly two minutes. My head said "awesome" but my Apple Watch wasn't that impressed. Despite having my head bouncing around the entire ride, my heart rate only increased by 7 BPM. It was beginning to rain, so we made our way indoors. BPM: 117
Dance Dance Revolution
After a couple more lighter indoor coasters, which included the Dark Knight and Skull Mountain, I made my way over to the arcade with my friends to dry off and take a brief break -- or so I thought. Standing there was a “Dance Dance Revolution” machine, a game which I hadn’t played in years.
And since I was among friends, of course we had to take a go at it for old time sake. Unfortunately, my younger years of playing it nonstop were long gone. Who knew that this game would be the one that really took my heart -- and my Apple Watch -- to the limit. By the end I was struggling to catch my breath and if my heart could talk, it would have to told me, gently, to perhaps rethink my committment to replacing real exercise with "FIFA 2014." BPM: 143
Despite that fact that the rain was starting to come down even harder, we made our way to a couple more rides, which included El Toro, a wooden coaster which sends its screaming riders down a 176 foot drop. In my case, it also doubled as an impromptu test of the Apple Watch’s water resistance, since it was raining. And at 70 MPH, not only was I rapidly pelted by raindrops, I was thoroughly soaked. As for the watch, it kept on chugging even with my wet wrist. BPM: 132
By the end of the day, the rain was really starting to come down and we weren’t planning on waiting for anymore coasters. So to round out the trip, we hopped on the teacups. Here’s an example of how it looks from the outside:
I remember this being a fun thing to do as a teenager. But when you pack five grown adult men into the cup, the best way I could describe it is something resembling g-force training in a NASA centrifuge. My heart was OK, but my head was like, "what did you just do?" By the time we got off, I could barely figure out which way was forward. BPM: 107