Samsung Health: The ultimate guide to getting fit with Samsung's app

Tips and tricks for your Samsung fitness tracking app
Samsung S Health: The ultimate guide

Samsung S Health is dead. Long live Samsung Health. The company rebranded its fitness platform this past April as it introduced its new Galaxy S8 phones. The app is a little more straightforward than its predecessor, with some small improvements, but it's generally as familiar as ever.

It's also a lot better, rolling together a bunch of great features to help you get fit. Last year the platform expanded on Android, and there's growing integration with third-party activity tracking apps from the likes of Nokia, Strava, Under Armour and more.

Read next: The ultimate guide for getting fitter with Fitbit's app

Health is compatible with all Samsung devices, from the well-known likes of the Gear S3 to the new Gear Sport, and where all your data will live. Android Wear users can still sync some data from their wearables, but only through a select few third-party services, which we'll touch on later.

The Samsung Health app also 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 Samsung Health has a tool for you along with helpful tips to stay active.

Here's how to use Samsung Health to its full potential.

Measure your vitals

You usually have to stick in your gender, age, weight, height and exercise levels when starting most fitness apps, and Samsung Health is no different.

Just as we recommend with Fitbit and Garmin Connect, customising your info will help get you the most accurate training data – and make more of the experience.

Samsung Health isn't as comprehensive as the other two platforms but it does let you enter heart rate from your wearable or mobile device (if you're using a Samsung phone with a heart rate sensor it will let you use the one on the back). There's also an oxygen saturation monitor which measures heart rate to determine the concentration of oxygen in your blood.

Stress, blood pressure and blood glucose are other data points you can manually enter or use heart rate tracking to glean information. Plus, if you have a third-party device that can obtain that information, you can plug it into Samsung Health as well.

Create training plans

To create a training plan, head to 'Manage Items' right down under the dashboard. You'll find a selection of training programs for running, which is in a much easier place to find than before, where it was buried in a menu. You can pick from 'Baby Steps to 5K', 'Run 5K', 'First attempt at 10K' and 'Run10K'.

All pretty self-explanatory, and by tapping on one you'll be told how many weeks you'll need to reach the end, and the total number of workouts that will be involved. This is where you can choose the start date for the program and which days of the week you want to work out on.

Tip: Tap 'View Workout Schedule' before adding your program to see exactly what the breakdown will look like. You'll be able to see which days you'll be running on, how far you'll be running on each, and generally get an idea of how your routine will progress over the allocated time.

Once added, you'll then have your workout program visible on your dashboard, showing you the day's plan (which may just be a rest day) and what upcoming days you have workouts scheduled on.

It would be nice to have more plans to choose from here, especially for cycling and other activities, but if you're aiming for a 10K run in a few months time, the Samsung Health app can be handy for keeping you on schedule.

Set goals for basic workouts

Samsung Health: The ultimate guide to getting fit with Samsung's app

Even if you're not working towards a big marathon, you can set yourself goals for activity, eating and sleep.

You may be prompted to do this when you first set up the app, but if not, just click one of the three goals circles in the dashboard. The green running man is for being active, the blue fork and knife are for eating healthier and the purple crescent moon is to feel more rested. Click on them and you'll be taken to a more specific goal screen. In the corner, hit "more" and you'll be able to edit your goal - adults are recommended to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, and 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity.

Read this: The best wearables for real-time coaching

For your eating goal, it's a case of choosing your target daily calorie goal, and we'd recommend also setting up a water intake goal too, which can be done as a separate tile on the dashboard either with Samsung's own hydration tracker or a third-party one.

Thirdly, the sleep goal lets you select a target bed time and wake-up time, which, like the other three, will then be displayed on your dashboard each day.

Set your pace

When it comes to doing workouts, be it running, cycling or walking, you have the option to choose what type of target you want to work towards. This might be distance, duration, a specific route, or a number of calories to burn.

When running, you can also choose to work to a pace, and if you do, you'll see there's a selection of different paces, from 'Light walking coach' to 'Speed endurance coach', and for each a description of how intense they are.

However, you should also know that you can set a custom pace – just tap click the left arrow in the center until the 'Add pace-setter' option arrives. From there you can customise your workout with distance, duration, and even whether you're looking for a cardio workout or to burn fat specifically. You can then give it a name and then add it to your list of pace setters.

When it comes to cycling, also know that you can select a 'Route target' from the menu of workouts and import GPX files that will then show in the app.

Monitor food

Samsung Health: The ultimate guide to getting fit with Samsung's app

Like most other fitness apps, Health will let you manually input food. 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 options are available, as well as a range of snacks. After you specify what kind of food and the portion you had, 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. Also, once you add a meal, it will remain listed so you can easily hit the + icon when you want to add another portion, saving you searching for it again.

All of this will help ensure you don't overdo 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. As you add food, you'll see your total calorie intake for the day displayed on your dashboard, so long as you've enabled the food tile.

Social motivation

It's great motivation and more fun knowing you're not alone in trying to stay active, so it's no surprise Samsung has added a little friendly competition to its app. Fitbit and others have seen great success with the addition of communities and communal challenges, and Samsung Health lets you set targets with friends, check their statuses and compete.

You'll see 'Together' along the top of the dashboard. Head into there and you'll immediately see a leaderboard graph showing how your average step count compares to people in your age group. Tap on 'My age group' and it will switch to show how you compare with your connected friends, and again to see how your fare against all other users.

That's neat, but better is what's below: Challenges. Here you can set up individual step challenges against friends, choosing the target goal and who you want to take on. We wish you could compete on more things than just steps, but at least it's one way to encourage yourself to keep fit.

Ask an Expert

Samsung Health: The ultimate guide to getting fit with Samsung's app

This is the one big new feature in Samsung Health, nestled away in the 'Experts' tab. Basically, you get a video call with a doctor where you can ask questions and such things. It's covered by "many top health plans" in the US, China and Korea and can even refill your prescriptions at local pharmacies.

Now, Samsung isn't exactly creating some kind of virtual hospital here. Instead, they're partnering with American Well to provide this service. You'll have to register with them first, and then choose your doctor, and then just call them up. The service is apparently available 24/7, and you won't have to make a reservation or appointment either.

While it's cool to automatically connect to your doctor remotely, it's a little difficult seeing many people actually using this. Doctors are, of course, very personal choices based on comfortability and cost, and it might be difficult to switch services just so you can use Samsung Health to connect to them. Either way, it's a neat service that's there if you're interested.

Connect apps…

Samsung Health: The ultimate guide to getting fit with Samsung's app

It's already been mentioned that Samsung Health can connect to third-party apps, and that number has grown considerably since the app arrived. You can access 'Partner apps' by tapping the 'More' button at the top right of the dashboard. That opens a menu where you can browse through the partner apps, and hitting the download button will take you to the Play Store.

Afterwards, you can add the various apps to your dashboard (Health even gives you a little prompt). Not all partner apps can be added, but some, such as Hydro Coach, can be allocated a tile. Obviously you'll need to have an account and be logged into the apps for any data to show on the dashboard.

From here, you can download many more apps to make your Health dashboard into a unified hub.

…and services...

While you may notice that Fitbit, Strava and some other apps aren't available to add to the dashboard, you can still integrate them to share some information. For example, you can connect Fitbit to share sleep data, while Strava can share some of your exercise data. Misfit does both.

Now, this is important if you're an Android Wear user who wants to have that precious tracked information sent from their wearable to Samsung Health, but bear in mind you're limited here by whichever app you use.

You're limited to Fitbit, Jawbone, Microsoft Health, Misfit, Runkeeper and Strava. To add these services, you'll have to click the 'More' option up in the right corner, then click 'Settings' then scroll to 'Connected Services'. Here, you'll be able to add these services into Samsung Health. It's worth noting a lot of the data won't move freely between platforms. For example, there's some granular Strava data and Fitbit sleep data that won't show up. Either way, it's a good idea to keep 'em connected for continuity sake.

...and accessories, too

Samsung Health doesn't just rely on your Samsung products to keep track of your health. You can also tap into Bluetooth and ANT+ accessories to expand your understanding of your health. To do so, just click the 'More' tab in the corner and click 'Accessories'.

You'll be greeted to what seems like a never-ending list of things you can connect to. They're broken into categories. Activity trackers (only Samsung ones) are at the top, with bike sensors, blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, smartwatches (Samsung only, again), and scales following.

This is where you'll be able to connect to services. It also doubles as a place that lets you know which devices you can use if you're interested in one of those metrics. You'll get a sparse information page about each accessory, general tips about how to use it and a link to the product website if you're in the mood for a purchase.


31 Comments

  • LusWeraska says:

    This is very cool. I use it and my Fitatu calorie counter.

  • patchmonkey says:

    Latest update to the Gear S2 added Automatic Sleep Tracking, I believe. I've got a Gear Fit2, waiting for a refurbished S2 to arrive so I can check. If so, Fit2 is being returned (I like it, and wholeheartedly recommend it, but like the watch "look" more.

  • Voodoogirl says:

    Does anyone know how to get the fitbit to show sleep data in S Health? I'm using a 3rd party app to move my step count in from the fitbit app, but that app charges $4.99 each to add on other options like syncing the sleep info. As you stated above, that's the only thing that is really available with the fitbit integration. But how do I get this? I'm opening the S Health app with Bluetooth on and it still only shows "record manually", and fitbit is not listed as one of the wearable devices in the drop down list under More > Accessories. I just bought a fitbit Charge HR that I received today and setting it all up now.

    • JustMe says:

      Instead of connecting it as an accessory (unfortunately it's not that easy), try 'connecting' the apps together (S-Health and the Fitbit app).

      -open S-Health

      -press 'more'

      -press 'settings'

      -press 'connected services'

      -Choose the Fitbit app from the list, and follow the bouncing ball :)

      In my opinion, S-Health is the best featured health app, at least for me. It has all the foods I eat in it, and it's easy to add anything I can't find. It tracks my steps and automatically logs walks and runs, it's easy to log workouts that can't be auto-detected, it tracks sleep... it's just too damn hard to find an accessory that'll work with it. I'm using a Jawbone Up3 when I saw that S-Health finally integrates with other services - just to find that the Jawbone step data doens't integrate with S-Health. And unrelated to S Health but the Up3 seems to be absolutely terrible at tracking steps... basically drops 100-300 steps for every 1000 steps taken.

    • NicoleJon says:

      What app do you use to move your step count to S Health from FitBit? I've been looking for exactly that so that I may challenge my FitBit-wearing Brother-in-Law with S Health's fun Together functionality.

      • BecM says:

        Hi, have you tried an app called Fit and Healthy? It can push info from fitbit to S Health. :) Takes a bit of setting up but works well for me:)

  • IreneWong says:

    I have a Samsung gear S2 classic. Currently, on the  watch S health, it has limited workout selections. How do I customize eq. yoga or weight training into the watch?

    • Scottjesq says:

      I have the same question. I added exercises on my phone, but they show on my Gear S2 under Exercise.

      Johnnie S.

  • IreneWong says:

    How do you customize other types of workouts into the Samsung S2 Gear Classic watch? Currently it only shows limited workouts ie running, walking , elliptical, biking , etc. BUT no yoga, or dance or cross training, or weight lifting...

  • BlahSaamsung says:

    S Health on a Samsung Galaxy S5 no longer counted steps correctly. Comparison with 2 pedometers show that 10,000 steps on them registers as 2,500 on the S5. The app is updated, and re-set but still undercounts. Prior to the latest update it worked perfectly.

  • bolti says:

    Why is space to add food only for 50 species, while other applications offer opportunities for more than 1000?

  • jomama33 says:

    how does S health count my steps ? I keep my phone in my back pocket .

  • epannie says:

    I upgraded from a Samsung Gear Fit to the Gear Fit2, and cannot locate the sleep tracker function on it, as it existed on the Gear Fit. When I went in to SHealth, I had to manually enter my sleep info. Is this an application that needs to be downloaded separately or something?

  • Miraclesdohappn says:

    are there any forums to find friends for s health? None of my friends use it but id like to set up challenges with people

  • matteastnz says:

    From the article, '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).'

    How do I turn auto-syncing off? Have a Nexus 6P and a Gear Fit 2, but can't see that option anywhere under the settings in S Health or Samsung Gear app? Both phone and tracker suffering from battery drain so ideally I'd just like them to sync when I open the app

    Thanks in advance!

  • Heinz says:

    Hi,
    does anyone know why I only can export walking and running to GPX, but not cycling?
    I just bought a Garmin bike computer and want to export several years of training to my Garmin.
    Does anyone know how I can rename activities from cycling to walking or running if I can not export?
    Thanks in advance

  • RGK says:

    How can I get meals input for the day before if I try to enter them after midnight? Can you back track and make corrections or new entries?

  • Marcin says:

    hello

    Can any one if it's possible to add my own interval workout in running workout.

    I would like to add 6 time slow run and 6 time faster and latter 10 minutes cool down? 

    It's possible to make own planning? 

  • Frikkie says:

    Why is it that you do not support the B-Fit Move on your application? Can you maybe think of adding this to your list please?

  • DeeG says:

    I was using SHEALTH to maily track BP, Sleep and Glucose. however, I stopped and requiring me to go back and send the data but it  is no longer working or my new phone is missing some thing.

    Sleep data use to allow you to add notable on your sleep. where is it?

    BP can only be reported manual and not visible phone. Why?

    If these options no longer available, what apps would you recommend to integrate with it?

  • cheegap says:

    I cannot get statistics of my exercises. It is limited to only one week. Longer period time, I can only see goals achieved, targets achieved, etc which is  quite useless. Why do they not keep all the records, such as graph, map, speed, hear rate etc. on the app? They have to study the Suunto record keeping which is far superior than S Health. 

  • Boni says:

    Is it possible to customise what audio cues you get in S-Health?

    I only want to hear distance, time elapsed, average pace but it keeps going on and on

  • Archeraddict says:

    Please can someone explain the difference between 'Time Slept' and 'Actual sleep time'. The former might say 8 hours but the latter 2 hours an 30 mins, for example. Thanks, not knowing what actual time slept means, is keeping me awake!

  • AnneArchbold says:

    How do you set the S Health app to register repetitions as opposed to duration for sit ups, crunches, etc.?

    • Mcrunch says:

      Hi Anne

      I struggled to find the answer to this too. Deep in the app is a help function so wrote to them.  This is their reply

      "Please know that up to this point the S Health application only allows to track Crunches based on a durations.burnt calori target and as a Basic workout. The repetitions are automatically recorded by an algorithm.

      We are fully aware of the fact that the tracker is missing a repetitions feature that can allow you to manually record them.

      However, please know that we are continuously working to improve the Samsung customer experience, and we have taken your feedback into consideration."

      Regards

      M

  • Witely says:

    how can i link my 7 minute workout to s health?

  • johnheinle says:

    I use the S Health app for tracking my daily fitness workouts, however I notice that Stand Up Paddleboarding is not listed as a sport. Could this be added in an update? I normally spend 2 hours a day on my paddle board. Thanks

  • Kiter says:

    Sleep recording using the Gear 3 results in 3-4 separate sections that I have to manually select to see the total sleep time.It used to work perfectly with the Gear Fit .It also records OK in "Sleep as an Android" app.

    Why doesn't it record in one section the whole night? 

  • VicN says:

    Thanks for the tips. I use Samsung Health to track my daily runs but I'm aiming for 1,000 miles this year. How or where can I get the overall total miles I've run? When I try to find it, the app only gives me averages per month. 

  • M19591124 says:

    why is the auto counting steps not working.....after update.....

  • JessC says:

    I spent the better part of an hour digging through settings and display options, but I couldn't find anything to show total sugar intake in this Samsung Health app. I contacted customer support and they said that they do not display that information. Considering that the World Health Organization released a statement with special focus and emphasis on sugar consumption, why would that information be lacking from this app? They already track that information through dietary labels on food. Maybe you could get attention by posting an update to your review!? Regardless, I think that this 'strangely' missing metric would be really important.

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