"Other" workout registers excerise while sitting

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Night Spring, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #1
    So I was staying home yesterday, and in an attempt to fill my "move" ring, I turned on the Other workout, because I've noticed that that seems to register the most movement. So I turned on an open Other session and went about doing some household choirs, like folding laundry and washing dishes. When I ended the workout, I was shocked to see that not only had the "move" ring filled out considerably, but I had accumulated nearly 30 minutes of excerise!

    I then started a 15-minute Other workout session, and sat down and read on my iPad. Sure enough, I got credit for 15 minutes of excerise, plus 32 active calories -- and all I did was sit and tap my iPad!

    I mean, wtf? Can anyone else replicate this?
     
  2. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Atlanta
    #2
    Sure you can 'cheat' by using Other, but who are you cheating? Other is for things like weight training that can't fit into a traditional or easily monitored repetitive moment.
     
  3. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #3
    If it is even possible to cheat with it, it's not working as Apple advertised. How can I reliably compare one day's calorie burn to the next if it is over-crediting me for "other" workouts and under-crediting me when I don't choose any workout? It should be tracking your activity the same no matter what you are doing. Yes, the heart rate will be taken more often when in workout mode, so I would expect it to be more accurate. But the differences are alarming.
     
  4. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #4
    It is a Watch and not a person. It can't 'see' everything and every way you do something to formulate a 100% objective understanding of the activity and the calories burned. Take 2 examples.

    Running: This is easy because every arm swing of the accelerometer equals 2 steps. HR is also fairly consistent during a cardio workout.

    Cross Fit: Externally hard to use the accelerometer to understand what exercise or movement is used. Moments and exercises are constantly changing and very dynamic. HR is all over the charts and is hard to read because of constant tissue constriction. Also anaerobic exercise caloric burn is not directly tied to HR values.
     
  5. kingofwale macrumors 6502a

    kingofwale

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    Apr 24, 2010
    #5
    i was out for a brisk walk for a hour with my girlfriend, and was credited for 2 minutes of exercise. without the 10 minute interval check, it's IMPOSSIBLE to fill the ring.

    this is why I refuse to do Apple update, it's absolutely disgraceful to get rid of a feature without telling the users and then claiming it as a "feature"
     
  6. Night Spring thread starter macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #6
    I'm not trying to cheat, just trying to figure out a way to get credit for the excerise I do. Next thing I'm going to try is starting another 15-minute Other session and do some real excerise, like walking fast or some jumping jack, and see if I get more calories than just sitting.

    However, if Other is giving me credit for just sitting, then it's not really reliable at all for ANY type of workout, because what if I pause and take a breather during the workout, and I'm getting credited for the time I'm resting as well as for the time I'm excerising? That's just not how it's supposed to work!
     
  7. millerrh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    #7
    Yeah I see your point. I guess I don't expect it to be perfect and 100% accurate. But I do expect that it is consistent. When Apple advertised this product to monitor your day-to-day activity to help count calories, the message to me was that you only had to wear the thing and it would consistently count them (however it does). The workout app seemed like a more accurate way to count calories for specific motions as well as give extras like timers, GPS, distances, etc. But I didn't think it would be so different with and without the workout app engaged. If Apple never advertised this as monitoring your day to day activity (i.e. brisk walk, gardening, playing with the kids) as a way to count calories, I wouldn't have this assumption or expectation. But they did.

    Walking/Running: It seems like the AW should be able to sense this sort of motion with and without the workout app and give you credit. Heart rate should add to the reading to give an idea of intensity level.

    Gardening/Playing with kids: More similar to Crossfit (from AW perspective) where there are no regular movements. So how is it supposed to know how many calories you're burning? Heart rate seems to be a great indicator for this type of thing.

    I am sure I'm wrong about this, but I thought "Other" workout was supposed to be this generic workout that is similar to the generic monitoring that is always going on without the Workout app. If you did a cross-fit workout with Other and one with no Workout, I would hope your calorie count should be sort of similar. If they are not, how can Apple claim they monitor your day-to-day activities with any sort of consistency. I don't expect them to be exact though... when you select Other it puts the heart rate sensor into play and it knows you're intentionally doing some specific workout. But how different is close enough? I'd say if they were within 20% of each other I'd be happy.

    Here are two examples:

    I did a 28 minute elliptical workout with and without the Workout app (Elliptical).
    No Workout app: 86 calories, 2 minutes on exercise ring
    With Workout app: 301 calories, 20+ minutes on the exercise ring
    If it was any good at all at measuring day-to-day activity I would have expected these numbers to be closer together.

    I also just did an experiment sitting at my desk here. 20 minutes just sitting here and 20 minutes in an "Other" workout.
    No Workout app: 15 calories, 1 minutes of exercise (I did get up to go to the bathroom)
    With Workout app: 89 calories, 19 minutes of exercise
    The workout app should have sensed I wasn't doing anything! Why is it giving me any workout credit for sitting at my desk?

    I just don't think you can trust the calorie burn this watch tells you is all. It seems like it is underestimating your calorie burn when not engaging the workout app and over-estimating when the workout app is engaged.
     
  8. zlin9596 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    #8
    In my case I used the indoor run on the workout app when I run on my treadmill i was running/ walking for 30 mins and the excerise ring only show 15 min of excerise so I do think it's tracking because the 15 slow walk I did was not considered excerise to the watch
     
  9. payne0391 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    #9
    So I see it as unless you set a specific workout going then the watch will keep track of your active calories when you're doing what it calls exercise, like for example being at work today it says I have burnt 167 calories and done 6 minutes of exercise. But it is also tracking your resting calories as well when you are just sitting around. You can see these if you open the Activity app on the iPhone and then swipe across on the Move section, it gives you your active, resting and total calories. Same for the Exercise section and Stand.
     
  10. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
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    Atlanta
    #10
    What if you were doing a seated leg press? You would also be seated and the accelerometer could 'see' this activity as the same as at your desk. The :apple:Watch has to do a best guess. So if you are running the Other Workout App then the :apple:Watch will assume you are doing (something like) a Leg Press and NOT just at your desk. This is why Active calories will be more running the App than not running it.

    Will the algorithms improve? YES
    Will they ever be close to 100% accurate? NO
     
  11. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #11
    This is why I thought heart rate readings were so critical to getting this right. Seated leg presses and me sitting at my desk should show different readings and be able to calibrate between the two.
     
  12. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #12
    As I already stated. HR readings are not a good indicator in weight training for 2 reasons.

    1) Muscle & artery constriction makes optical HR readings extremely inaccurate (unless using a chest strap) during weight training. Often the optical HR monitor will recored the HR about the same (near resting) or even lowing than sitting. So it can't tell by HR.

    2) Anaerobic exercise's caloric burn can't be measured by HR. Anaerobic energy is independent of the cardio vascular system.
     
  13. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    Ventura County
    #13

    Because of 1.0.1 changes to the heart rate monitor, not using the workout app when actually working out or even strenuous activity will give completely inaccurate results. It's no longer tracking your heart rate in the background, therefore your calories and minutes are so much lower without using the workout app compared to using the workout app. Calories will be way more accurate when it's reading your heart rate. That is why the numbers are not closer. No heart rate readings = lower calories according to the watch.

    Any time I know I will be doing strenuous activity, I start an "other" workout so it tracks my heart rate, minutes and calories, but I do not save that workout. When I am actually working out I will save that workout so it goes into the health app.
     
  14. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #14
    The heart rate is important but unfortunately it is not working well. When on a run my heart rate varies from 135 and then down to 62 over and over high then low no matter how I wear the watch. My favorite is if not in the exercise mode it will not record your HR at all unless you arm is still! LOL!
     
  15. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2015
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    Near Seattle
    #15
    I believe I read in the Apple Watch manual that "Other" will count your workout at least as the equivalent of a brisk walk, barring any other sensor input.
     
  16. flur macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    #16
    When you first create an "Other" workout (just the first time ever, not each time) there's a message that tells you that if your HR isn't elevated (or something like that) it will credit your for a brisk walk. It's to take into account cases where you're working really hard but aren't seeing an elevated HR, such as weight training. So I'm not surprised when you're sitting on the couch you get credit. The watch is a tool, not a complete mind and body reader - it doesn't know everything you're doing and has to make some educated guesses. The "Other" workout errs on the side of giving you the benefit of the doubt.
     
  17. gppittjk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #17

    Bingo. Flur et al nailed it.

    There are two things that are going on in your trials, OP. In the first trial, in which you set the Workout app to "Other" and stayed still, the app gave you credit for that time at a brisk walk as the disclaimer states when you start the "Other" workout. When you did the elliptical work without beginning a "Workout," the HRM change in 1.0.1 is to blame for your low calorie output. In 1.0.1, the HRM will not try to register your HR if your arm is in motion, as it would be while on the elliptical machine. One can debate whether this "feature" was a good idea, but essentially your watch does not know that you are exercising because it is not capturing HR data.
     
  18. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #18
    OK, I can buy into the idea of "Other" giving you credit for a brisk walk and giving you the benefit of the doubt. But the inability of this watch to track your activity when not engaging a Workout mode is really what I'm upset by. It can't be used passively (i.e. just throw it on and forget about it). To get calories to actually count, you must engage a Workout whenever working out. Sometimes (like when mowing the lawn/golfing/running up some stairs, etc.) I don't want to go through the trouble to set it to a Workout. But I do want it to see that I'm doing something more strenuous and up the calorie count when I do.
     
  19. flur macrumors 68000

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #19
    It can be used passively, but only for activities in which you are moving your arm. This is one case where a slightly less sophisticated device does better - with my UP band, I can just stuff it into the pocket of my pants and it would register the movement of my leg/hip and know that I was active. With the watch, it has to be pressed against skin, so the pocket trick doesn't work. But that's why you're not getting credit when mowing - you're not moving your arms.

    You should be getting credit for golfing, unless you walk really slow or use the cart for everything (in which case, let's face it, that's not exercise), and you should be getting credit for running up stairs, but unless you're doing it for a full minute, it won't register as a minute toward your exercise circle, it will just register as steps as movement toward your total move/calorie burn goal.

    It actually takes quite a bit of activity to cause you to burn more calories than you burn while sitting around. I think it's a pretty common misconception that doing a little should move the needle when in truth it doesn't. The brisk walk credit IS quite brisk, as anyone who's used the outdoor walk workout knows - you can't just loll around and get credit. Maybe you're just not moving fast enough for a long enough period of time to get credit.
     
  20. digduggler macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    #20
    I find other quite useful and while you can perhaps get exercise where you might not normally get it, I find it doesn't give you caloric credit all willy nilly. I've found Other to be better than Outdoor Walk when pushing my two kids in the stroller since I won't be swinging the arms. Similar for dog walks too.
     
  21. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2015
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    Near Seattle
    #21
    Anyone remember the Apple Nike+ sensor that embedded into special Nike+ shoes? I had a couple of those, and they worked very well before on-chip accelerometers/gyros were small enough to embed into the iPod and iPhone. I'm now amazed we have these sensors built into a watch, and not only that, the code to detect steps, walking vs run, etc, is pretty effective, if not perfect.

    I could see the return of a shoe or ankle motion sensor to provide additional motion input to the watch for fitness buffs, just as you can pair a Bluetooth HR chest strap to the watch today. We are just beginning.
     
  22. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #22
    I would love that panacea too. However think about it. When you mow the lawn your arm is mostly static. So there is very little input from the accelerometer to measure. Without knowing your HR info the :apple:Watch has very little info to go on to discriminate just standing from pushing a mower. Until we get full time HR monitoring and more sensors it is going to be more limited to what it can know.

    IMO it is already an almost miracle that algorithms can make any meaningful information from a simple accelerometer and gyroscope. Think straightforward it sounds to calculate arm swing while running since each moment is very similar to the last. Now while running wipe you face and then scratch you but.:D Now the algorithms must discount and smooth this out of the step count. Like I said this is some fantastic stuff.
     
  23. Bromeo, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    Bromeo macrumors regular

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    Near Seattle
    #23
    Oh, second thought... Doesn't Apple make use of the Motion Coprocessor on the iPhone 6 as an additional motion sensor input to the Watch? I thought I rad that somewhere. If so, keeping your iPhone in your pocket provides not only GPS, but also a second source of motion input. By correlating the two accelerometers, the code could determine why kind of exercise, or even detect motion from riding in a vehicle and not could that as exercise.

    It may already do a lot of thise. Even with my iPhone 5. While flying my plane in moderate turbulence for two hours, the watch dutifully reminded me to stand up. Somehow it had figured out the motion from turbulence was not me jumping around. Although my heart rate averaged 100 BPM due to the higher altitude (10,500 ft most of the way), so the Watch did report a higher caloric consumption that usual. Now, if my iPhone had a barometer (or I suppose it could have used GPS altitude) then it could have figured out the altitude was responsible for the increased HR.
     
  24. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #24
    Where are you guys getting your information that Apple Watch needs to detect arm movement to be accurate? I seem to recall them stating gardening and playing with your kids would be considered activity. They don't seem to distinguish between activities that make your arm move and ones that don't. I'm not sure how they were doing it...thought it was the heart rate measurements (prior to 1.0.1). But they don't seem to be making any caveats that your arm needs to be swinging. Otherwise this is just really a pedometer that is estimating calories based on steps. Surely it is more sophisticated than that.
     
  25. Betsy30 macrumors member

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    Apr 17, 2010
    #25
    This is an interesting conversation. I've been reading that long thread about the HR updates and was going to complain about my Exercise ring, but I guess I'll do it here instead. :)

    I've had my Watch for 5 days now. I updated as soon as I got it as I didn't know any better, so always on 1.0.1.

    Day 2 I went for a 40 minute walk using Workout set on Outdoor Walk. Average HR 126, only about 10 minutes of Exercise.

    Day 4 I worked out at the gym for 35 minutes lifting weights using Workout set on Other. Average HR 100, got almost 30 minutes in Exercise, woo hoo.

    Day 5 went for another 40 minute walk, same scenario, same HR, same Exercise.

    Originally I thought that I wasn't getting my HR up high enough for the exercise to count, but after lifting weights that's obviously not the case.

    I guess I'll just use Other for all my exercise. Seems kinda stupid, but I certainly can't lift heavy weights every day, and I don't know another way to close that darned ring.
     

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