Sudden Change in Exercise Minutes in Activity App - Have You Seen a Recent Change?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by newellj, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. newellj macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #1
    Starting Monday morning, my watch completely changed the amount of "exercise" it records in the Activity app. It is still recording movement accurately and completely, but the amount of exercise has changed dramatically - it basically isn't recording exercise minutes any more, even when the movement and heart rate are the same as earlier workouts.

    I've spent ~ four hours with five Apple support techs, including two senior advisers. No one has any suggestions, other than the possibility of a silent update to the algorithms for counting "exercise" in the Activity app. Since the change happened on Monday and I've been on WatchOS 5.2.1 since it was pushed out in mid-May, it can't be a change from 5.2 to 5.2.1.

    Has anyone else noticed a recent change in how "exercise" is report in the Activity app?
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #2
    Unless you just did an update it should not have changed. I have noticed differences between one watch to another. My watch is doing about the same, when I walk one hour on the tread mill, it takes 10-15 minutes before it starts recording exercise.
     
  3. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #3
    I reset my watch the other day – I'm having issues with messages coming through to the watch – and my exercise minutes have jumped dramatically. I do a lot of walking the hallways at work and it used to only tally a few minutes a day...Now it is much, much more.
     
  4. jbachandouris macrumors 601

    jbachandouris

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #4
    I have ALWAYS had problems with the exercise ring recording minutes. I would walk outside for an hour and barely get 30 minutes and I don't walk slow.
    When I walk the inside of the mall and sometimes I'll be just about running and it STILL wouldn't give me credit. The walk from the car to the door will give me 1-2 minutes, but 40 minutes barely gets me more than 10 minutes if that.

    I assume this is because I am a runner and my resting heart rate is normally low so it takes more to convince the watch I'm 'exercising.'

    So, basically I HATE the exercise ring. I've had this problem with Series 2,3, and 4.

    It hasn't gotten 'better' recently. 2 days this week it barely gave me any credit at all. Yet today, I went the Dr's and magically got 4 minutes and I haven't done a thing.
     
  5. millerj123 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    #5
    Yeah, this is happening to both me and my wife. This morning we walked briskly for 50 minutes and she got 18 minutes while I got 20. I got an additional minute walking to my car.
     
  6. newellj thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #6
    Thanks all. AFAIK, nothing has changed. Same watch, same OS versions, same settings, same workouts, same user. ;) I work out a lot and have a very low heartbeat, resting and active. Oddly, while my exercise minutes for actual workouts has basically ended, it still gives me exercise minutes for walking, when I'm sure my heart rate is lower than when exercising.

    I find Apple explaining this by pointing to an undocumented and apparently undocumentable silent update very frustrating, to say the least. Happily it hasn't affected my blood pressure (yet). ;) :D
     
  7. jbachandouris macrumors 601

    jbachandouris

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #7
    It's trying to raise my blood pressure...
     
  8. oeagleo macrumors 6502

    oeagleo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    Location:
    West Jordan, Utah
    #8
    One of my pet peeves about the AW, is that while it will count exercise minutes, it never says what constitutes and "exercise", other than "the equivalent of a brisk walk". The problem is that a "brisk walk" for a 70 year old, overweight man would be quite different from a 19 year old runner. What zone does the heart rate need to be in? What percentage of Max heart rate? Of Heart Rate Reserve? All a mystery, and apparently, only Tim Cook knows what the equivalent of a "brisk walk" is.
    That's why when I' serious about getting the ring closed, I use my Garmin and import it into health, and consequently, into the activity app. It's a same for a company that is so self-directed at health and exercise doesn't take into account the different ages/status/weight, etc of it's users. No where in the apps that I can find is there a definition of Max HR, nor a calculation of zones, or Heart Rate Reserve.
     
  9. newellj thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #9
    I sympathize. My RHR is in the 40s. It periodically seems to think I've died. The Apple techs told me that if my HR isn't above 135 it won't register "exercise." First, that isn't true - until this week it routinely recorded exercise minutes with a HR way below that. But second, why the sudden change? It all sounds pretty first-worldy but the only thing I do with my AW is record activity and exercise. If it has stopped doing that I'll go back to mechanical watches and mail this one to Tim Cook.
     
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #10
    I have same problem. Go for a 40 minute walk with my wife -- she gets 40 minutes and I get like 18 min.

    I think it will only count walking exercise if your HR goes above 100. My resting HR is in the low 50's and my normal pace walking is like 80. I have to walk at a very brisk pace (though I have short legs), nearly a light jog, for it to get over 100 and register as exercise.

    If you can't get your HR up that high for a walk, try the "other" workout. It will ignore HR and just use time. Apple says it tracks this workout's calories "similar to a brisk walk."
     
  11. newellj thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #11
    Secret algorithms??? Apparently so. Corroborating your point, though, I tried one of my workouts this morning wearing a Polar chest strap, and that *did* record exercise minutes. Makes no sense at all - why does the Activity app record exercise from the Polar strap but not record exercise from an exactly identical workout recorded as a Workout?
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2019 ---
    FWIW, until Monday this week I was getting exercise minutes recorded with HRs in the 80s. Based on some experiments today, I now have to get it over 100 (as you said) for the AW to record exercise minutes....but with the Polar strap, I got exercise credit with HRs in the 80s.
     
  12. oeagleo macrumors 6502

    oeagleo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    Location:
    West Jordan, Utah
    #12
    I believe, and have checked, and when you use any other device, (I'm assuming your Polar strap uploads to Polar Flow, and you export that to Health), and export it to Apple's Health program, it counts that activity as under the "OTHER" category, and that category does not monitor the heart rate to determine activity minutes, instead, it gives a 1:1 minute count for the activity. So, if you're lazy, or if you're 3 minutes short of your activity ring that day, just choose "OTHER" for your exercise type, and perhaps "Functional Training", (after all, shopping promotes body function, right), and you'll credit minute for minute in the Activity ring. :) (Not that I would ever do that, by the way).....
     
  13. newellj thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #13
    It was actually Polar Beat, not Flow...and I recorded it as "indoor cycling" on the Polar Beat app, but it showed up as "outdoor cycling" as a workout on the Workout tab of the Activity app. (Go figure?) The move and exercise tally in the Activity app shows up as gray and is labeled as "Polar Beat." And it appears to have double-counted the workout, which would really be misleading.
     
  14. oeagleo macrumors 6502

    oeagleo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    Location:
    West Jordan, Utah
    #14
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2019 ---
    It actually only counts one activity, I have done this with my Fenix5+, and Health counts any external, or imported activity, and uses the “other” category. As for the accuracy of the name on the imported activity, I think that’s another of Tim Cook’s secrets. I use RunGap to import my Garmin activities, and that’s how it’s done.
     
  15. newellj thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    East of Eden
    #15
    Both Activity and Health double-counted my 6:30-8:00 workout. It's harder to see in Health. You have to touch Health>Workouts>Show All Data, but it shows overlapping workouts from two different sources (in this case, Apple Watch and Polar Beat). It's easier to see the overlap in Activity because they're shown separately but with identical times on the list of workouts.
     
  16. jhfenton, Jul 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019

    jhfenton macrumors 6502a

    jhfenton

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #16
    I'm in the same camp with a RHR in the mid-40's, and I've never earned much in the way of Exercise minutes from just walking either. Except for explicit workouts running (mostly), cycling, or rowing, I usually get credit for 5 or fewer minutes of random exercise per day. I just walked for 30 minutes at a treadmill desk at work, and I got credit for 0 minutes of exercise, even though I recorded it as a treadmill walking session. And that's probably fair. The highest HR recorded was 74. That shouldn't qualify as exercise, even if it gets me out of my chair and burns a few calories.

    I do have 4 random minutes (2 x 2) of exercise recorded earlier this morning. Based on timing, I'd guess they came from climbing several flights of stairs twice, even though the Watch never recorded a HR higher than 79. I don't know how the Watch decides when to credit exercise minutes, but it seems to be a combination of movement and HR. (I have an aluminum Series 4.)

    Edited to add: I guess I really haven't been paying much attention to my Watch crediting random minutes of exercise. Based on today's results, I may be picking up more than I realized. (I don't pay much attention to the Exercise ring. I keep my Move goal at 1,000 calories, and I need quite a bit more than 30 minutes of exercise to come close to that.) At about 5:45 PM this evening, just before I started running, I had 13 minutes of random exercise credited, even though my highest HR reading of the day was still 79. About 16:40 into my run, the Watch chimed and showed that I had closed my Exercise ring. (So it was crediting exercise minute for minute from the start of the run.) I ran for 1:05:39 in total, let's call it 66 minutes, added to the 13 is 79. Sitting here at home, my Watch shows 80 minutes for the day, so I picked up another minute somewhere.

    It is a bit odd that I picked up 13 minutes of random exercise credit throughout the day, but none of it was during 30 minutes that I walked on the treadmill with my HR in the 70's (the highest HR recorded all day until my run this evening).

    I'm currently running WatchOS 6 DB 4.
     
  17. rnj79 macrumors regular

    rnj79

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    West Baton Rouge Parish, La
    #17
    Mine and my husband's AW3 both started doing the same after the latest update. I train in BJJ 3 times a week for 1.5 hours each class, but not much has been counted on the watch. It's only the Exercise though. Moving and Standing are still logging properly.
     

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16 July 19, 2019