How does Activity track "exercise"?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by paulgandersman, May 29, 2015.

  1. paulgandersman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #1
    So the activity tracker seems to just randomly throw minutes into "exercise" even when I'm not exercising.... and then yesterday I used the workout app and went on a 30 minute walk, using the app, running the whole time, tracking it and everything, even got a "complete" message and all that, and *nothing* was added to exercise in activity....

    So how the heck do I get that thing to move? I wanna fill them rings!

    edit - and today, it says I've done 4 minutes of exercise... I've been at work all day, haven't even opened the workout app.
     
  2. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #2
    Anything at a 'brisk walk' (not a regular walking pace) or above is counted as exercise.
     
  3. paulgandersman thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    well thats lame. a regular walk IS exercise. and I was using the "walk" option in workout app. it should really register that. lame :(
     
  4. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #4
    It's been wonky ever since the 1.01 update. Before, I could fill up the excerise ring by walking to and from the subway. Now, I do the same walk, and I get nothing.
     
  5. Dennison macrumors regular

    Dennison

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    #5
    I think this brings up a valid question. I've been wondering the same thing myself, and my experience with the exercise ring has been confusing. There would be certain days of the week where I wouldn't get in any real exercise, or log any kind of work out that day on the watch, but I would fulfill my exercise goal for some reason.

    My regular walking pace, I would say, is faster than most. So maybe the watch is counting my brisk walking pace (which is normal for me) as exercise.
     
  6. paulgandersman thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Yeah this is frustrating. I like to talk daily walks. I don't want to start walking faster just so my watch will recognize it as exercise. If i am using the workout app then its exercise watch. Come on.
     
  7. digduggler macrumors regular

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    Jul 2, 2007
    #7
    You could look at it differently. I thought my evening walks were exercise but turns out I barely got my heart rate up. I am much healthier after getting the watch and realizing I wasn't actually exercising. There is clearly a min heart rate threshold for your age/gender/weight/height to qualify. I am much healthier after embracing that and realizing even though I was walking, it wasn't really exercise. My .02 cents....
     
  8. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

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    #8

    Very valid point and cannot be understated. A key metric for determining what constitutes exercise is where your heart rate is in relation to your average heart rate. As you grow older, your body and heart rate become slightly less capable of peak exercise thresholds. What used to be easy, becomes more difficult. Also, if you weight more, your blood has to pump harder thusly increasing your heart rate.

    Not to put anyone down, but I honestly suspect that the results the watch produces are accurate and people simply aren't pushing themselves hard enough.
     
  9. matty.p macrumors 6502

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    Jun 24, 2010
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    Portland, OR
    #9
    Completely agree. It's supposed to be a motivating device which means it shouldn't be that easy to reach your goals. They are 'goals' for a reason.
     
  10. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 8, 2011
    #10
    I think this is correct. It seems that if your heart rate goes up to a certain point past "resting" then it will count as exercise.
     
  11. davidec macrumors regular

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    Jan 31, 2008
    #11
    So smoking 5 cigarettes in a row would count as exercise?
     
  12. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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    San Rafael, California
    #12
    It is beyond me why some folks think a leisurely stroll counts as "exercise". I guess comparing it to sitting in a recliner and watching "Seinfeld" rerurns, it's exercise.

    Just don't compare it to the real thing, whose purpose is to IMPROVE your health and well being, not just rubber stamp the same old/same old and give you a pat on the back.

    As far as the outdoor walk activity, it's ALL about pace. Walk at a brisk pace and watch the minutes pile up into the exercise column. Heart rate doesn't enter into it, although it DOES count a lot in determining calorie burn (move goal).

    I've tested this. I live in a hilly area. When I'm walking up a steep hill, my pace naturally slows while my HR zooms upward. The minutes don't accrue. Start downhill (or be somewhere level), walk faster, and the minutes start to log.
     
  13. michael31986 macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #13
    What is considered exercise?

    It says I did 30 min but what is that based in. I didn't use the workout app when I do use it for stair master it makes sense but other wise. I don't get it. Hmm
     
  14. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #14
    While I do agree that a leisurely stroll shouldn't count as excerise, the problem with the Workout app is that there's no way to see if what you are doing is counting as excerise until after you end the workout and check the Activity app. During the workout, you can see how long you've been running the workout, the distance you have travelled, calories, pace, and maybe some other metrics I'm forgetting, but none of this tells you if you are actually exerting yourself enough to count as excerise. I suppose if you run enough workouts, you might eventually work out that if you burn more than x calories in y minutes, then that will count as excerise, but that isn't useful to those of us who are starting out and mainly interested in filling the excerise circle in the Activity app.
     
  15. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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    #15
    But you CAN monitor the exercise minutes during the workout activity. Just run the activity app and swipe over to "exercise". It keeps a running total.

    This is how I determined "outdoor walk" is totally based on pace. Walking slower up a hill won't log minutes. Walking faster downhill does log minutes.

    I agree though, more transparency would be nice, so we know what the app is looking for to make those minutes count.
     
  16. spriter macrumors 65816

    spriter

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    May 13, 2004
    #16
    Haven't had the watch long enough (and still waiting for a BSB for training) to fully check out the Activity tracking yet but I do hope HR is the primary measure.

    It's my main metric for training (cycling) and determines cadence, gear selection, and speed. A much better way to stay healthy rather than simply speed or time over a distance.
     
  17. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #17
    Ok, but then why bother with the workout app at all? If all I want to do is fill up the excerise circle, then it seems that what I should do is open up the activity app, swipe to exercise, then try various activities until I find something that works to fill up the minutes.

    More transparency is definitely needed!
     
  18. gabo864 macrumors 6502a

    gabo864

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    #18
    I believe it's based on your heart rate. Whatever activity your doing if you reach certain heart rate then it's considered exercise. I think.
     
  19. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    #19
    According to my apple watch getting massively pissed off counts as exercise. I wish I were kidding. That's the only way I've gotten that ring to budge since the update. I used to get credit for my neighborhood walks. If I do jumping jacks I can get it to move a little.
     
  20. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    #20
    Well it's very confusing because a walk used to count as exercise and now it doesn't. I went on a four hour hike up a frigging canyon and it didn't count as exercise. But getting really angry over mistreatment by a friend did. It counted as two minutes worth of exercise! So heart rate must have had something to do with it. Or maybe I was ranting and flailing my hands around without realizing it. Weird.

    For those of us who are older and have joint problems I would hope a brisk walk counts as exercise even if Apple doesn't think it should. My knees are too wrecked for running. I can swim, though, but fat lot of good it will do me with the watch not being waterproof in the pool. Said the bitter old fart. :rolleyes:
     
  21. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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    #21
    In this case, the transparency is 100% transparent for those who read the manual. The activity app is a passive application for recording information based on your... activities. This occurs whenever you are wearing the watch.

    The workout app is an active app that actively -monitors- and records... exercise, and updates the metrics that make up the activity app and other health data. But it has to be manually started and stopped.

    They serve two separate and distinct functions. Now, you -can- log "exercise" minutes without running the workout app, but it won't be as accurate as there is no active monitoring of pace or heart rate. Without the workout app running, e.g., the watch will use IR to measure heart rate once every 10 minutes (or so). When it's running, it uses green light to measure heart rate every 10 seconds.

    I've gotten exercise minutes without the workout app, but it's very sporadic. When I am doing a workout, I use the activity app to monitor progress. It's a simple as a double push of the crown.
     
  22. Fwingonga macrumors member

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    Apr 28, 2015
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    Paris, France
    #22
    It's been an eye-opener to me in terms of what you can really call "exercise" - one of the best examples was when we went away for a weekend recently, and basically spent most of every day walking. I was logging over 25000 steps a day. No trouble closing the red movement ring, but was nowhere near closing the green exercise ring. And I think that was because we were walking at my partner's pace, and he doesn't walk as quickly as I do. Not that he walks particularly slowly, but I am a habitually fast walker, so in order to really get my heart rate up I have to walk very fast, and I wasn't doing that. So for me it's shown that you can walk for hours and hours on end and you are not necessarily "exercising" - obviously you are burning calories, but you may not be getting into the heart rate zones currently recommended as being protective against disease.
     
  23. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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    San Rafael, California
    #23
    I suspect a lot of the confusion here is the necessity to start the workout app to get exercise minutes to log correctly. If you don't, it's quite possible, even probable, to hit 25k steps and get zero minutes.

    The solution is to actively monitor HR, pace and movement full time. It's silly to need to start and stop an application - a brisk walk is still a brisk walk regardless. But that requires battery capacity that doesn't exist in this first generation watch.

    Maybe next year.
     
  24. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #24
    So far I'd definitely say it's a good motivator. I hadn't used my indoor bike in a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. But now that I can use this to get "credit" for riding it and that little green ring grows, it's kind of like I get rewarded for it. So I've done five minutes last night and 10 minutes tonight. I thought a short walk I took at work would count as exercise, but I didn't turn on the activity app for a walk because I didn't know it had a walk thing and I just forgot. That didn't count as exercise, but I believe walking from my car back to my desk did. Strange.

    I made a suggestion on another thread about Apple possibly really rewarding people. I know fraud would be a struggle, but figure out something where if you fill in all three rings in a day you get like 1 or 2 cents credit on your Apple account. If they wanted to offer a larger credit, it could possibly become a selling point or say that you can make the watch pay for itself over time.
     
  25. paulgandersman thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 4, 2010
    #25
    In my original post I stated that I'm using the workout app and not getting exercise counted.

    Also to the people essentially saying "walk faster", exercise is different to different people in different situations. A friend of mine lost 100lbs just by walking (not very fast) 10,000 steps a day for somewhere between 6 months and a year. By the way the apple watch tracks "exercise", he wouldn't have logged a single minute, though he lost 100lbs.... Also, like the guy a few posts up said, he did a hike and it didn't count, so something is clearly off here. (And his Fitbit counted all those steps and considered them exercise.)

    As far as I'm concerned, if you're using the workout app, it should be logging "exercise". This isn't about cheating or winning or any nonsense like that, this is about accurately tracking the work you're putting in.

    ----------

    Regarding the walk you took at work: the problem is that even if you had opened the workout app and selected a walk, it wouldn't count it as exercise unless you were walking fast enough. That's the issue I have and what I feel needs to change.

    I mean, what about a 70 year old with bad legs, he walks slowly but he takes hour long walks to stay healthy? Is he NOT exercising? (Apparently not to some of the people in this thread.)
     

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