What counts as exercise?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by justinharris89, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. justinharris89 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    #1
    This may have been discussed a bunch already, but I couldn't find a good answer elsewhere, and I didn't find a thread about it so I figured I'd ask (if there's another thread about this already feel free to link it, thanks in advance). Anyway, I'm just curious as to what needs to happen when I'm out for a walk for the watch to count it all as exercise. I've had some issues where it won't count the entire walk, just parts. I figure it's something heart rate related, so if that's the case, I'm curious as to what the target heart rate for activities would be.
     
  2. mtngal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    #2
    I think that outside it may be related to pace more than heart rate. I naturally walk fast, and I'm often credited with exercise minutes when walking from my car into my office. I don't go into the activity app to walk the 2 or 3 minutes it takes me.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure about indoors. I've walked the same speed in a mall and not gotten credit, unless I start the activity app and say I am doing an indoor walk. Then I do get credit. So that may be heart rate dependent.

    I'd love to know if anyone has a definite answer.
     
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #3
    This has been discussed in many threads, though I'm too tired right now to go look for them. Unfortunately, there's no clear conclusion, just anecdotes of what people tried, and it's not always helpful as if one person says "I walked fast and I got exercise credit," and another person says "I walked fast but didn't get credit," we don't know if they walked at the same speed. Also, we don't know if the watch takes someone's age, gender, height, weight, heartrate, etc, into consideration when deciding what is exercise or not. Unless Apple tells us, all we are doing is guesswork.
     
  4. Rok73 macrumors 65816

    Rok73

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    Apr 21, 2015
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    Planet Earth
    #4
    Well, as a guy who doesn't do lots of sport, maybe just the occasional bicycle ride and some brisk walking I can assure you that in my case the brisk walking counts as excercise.

    If you calibrated the watch with your usual style of maximum body movement it takes this as a measure to decide if it's excercise or not, I'd say.

    See this:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204516
     
  5. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    'Brisk Walk or above'

    [​IMG]
     
  6. teidon macrumors 6502

    teidon

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    Dec 22, 2009
    #6
    I noticed that starting "Other" workout in the Workout app credits exercise minutes 1-to-1. So 10 mins of Other will give you 10mins of Exercise. I think that the only requirement for the Other workout is that your heart rate needs to be elevated. I don't know how high heart rate is needed but my guess is it needs to be higher than some value from 90 to 100.
     
  7. Rok73 macrumors 65816

    Rok73

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    #7
    Well, even if you set the excercise to outdoor walking and actually make a brisk walk (like 5 - 6 km/h) it will count it 1 to 1. There is no need to put much effort into this. ;)
     
  8. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #8
    Actually, Other will give you credit for exercise even if you are sitting down, doing nothing. :eek:
     
  9. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    Sep 29, 2014
    #9
    Yep, part of one of the workouts I do, which I use other for, is sitting and stretching. I get credit. I don't mind that since I am indeed doing something to improve my health at the moment. I don't however see my watch give exercise credit if I'm sitting and workout is not on. I have been up for 3 hours already and have 0 exercise credit for the day which is correct because I have been here at the desk other than the times I have stood to walk around for a minute.
     
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #10
    Sitting and stretching is exactly the kind of exercise Other is there for. And I never suggested that the Watch gives you credit when you aren't running a Workout.
     
  11. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    Sep 29, 2014
    #11
    Oh I know, I was just saying I don't have an issue with that happening in case someone got the idea the watch is just handing out exercise credit for sitting around. :)

    I use other for two main events. Cardio in the living room and basketball in the driveway. Otherwise I use outdoor run, walk or cycle. These rings motivate me. Last month (I don't know how) I missed one day and missed the 6/2015 award.
     
  12. teidon macrumors 6502

    teidon

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    Dec 22, 2009
    #12
    Good to know. :)

    Great if it works consistently for some/most. Being in a wheelchair though things aren't quite as simple though. If I start outdoor walking exercise I have to "walk" for 1 hour to 1.5 hour to get the 30 mins of exercise. If it's speed related it's sort of stupid because for me any uphill will slow me down but it also more or less "kills" me. That is, my speed goes down but my heart rate goes up to anything 120 to 150. If that doesn't count as exercise I don't know what does. It's sort of same as if someone's work requires him to move some heavy objects around the whole day... He might not move at "brisk walk speed" while doing so... But if you move some heavy objects for a full work day doesn't that count as exercise? (isn't the whole point of "going to gym" to "move" heavy objects?)

    Anyways, seems like "Other" is the way to go for me for the time being.
     
  13. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #13
    Do you wheel your chair with your hands? If so, you might try the Rowing Workout, I'd think the motion is similar.
     
  14. luked14 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #14
    I found an article where someone tested this and found that 70% of your maximum heart rate is what triggers exercise minutes. I've tested this doing indoor walks on a treadmill, and it's been spot on for me.

    To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
     
  15. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #15
    Its certainly possible that that is one of the triggers, but it can't be the only trigger, because the watch also gives you exercise minutes when you move vigorously when you aren't running a Workout, so it's not measuring your heart rate.
     
  16. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #16
    I normally walk at about 3.7-4mph and if I took a 30 minute walk without starting a workout, I get credited for all 30 minutes and calories and distance. However, I've walked with my wife much slower and still got credited. To me it measures arm swing and not heart rate. Besides, is it even measuring your heart rate with version 1.0.1 since you are moving. Don't know.

    Once, while golfing, I forgot to set the workout and I carry my clubs and only got about 25% of the normal calorie and distance count because I would have the bag over my left shoulder and often my arm didn't swing. Phone was also in my bag.

    Go figure. I think arm swing is the key.
     
  17. luked14 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #17
    I'm not sure exactly how the watch measures exercise minutes when the workout app isn't being used. Maybe it tracks your heart rate more often than every 10 minutes when it senses prolonged step count and arm movement. It would be interesting to look at your heart rate history during the time you got those exercise minutes to see how many entries there are.

    I don't think that arm swing is much of a factor when using the workout app because that wouldn't work for non walking/running activities like cycling or rowing where your arms aren't swinging.

    I constantly monitor my heart rate when I'm on the treadmill and refresh the activity app on my phone to see when exercise minutes are being counted, and it's very consistent with when my heart rate is above 70% of maximum capacity.

    Here's the article about heart rate and the Apple Watch's exercise minutes.
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #18
    No, it doesn't work like that.

    From https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204511
    "In addition, Apple Watch attempts to measure your heart rate every 10 minutes, but won't record it when you're in motion or your arm is moving."

    So since his arms were moving, the watch wouldn't have taken any heart rate readings.

    Therefore, when the Activity app credits you with exercise when the Workout app wasn't running, it's relying totally on movement.
     
  19. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #19
    70% of maximum from that formula is a bit high from my anecdotal evidence. I'm 33 so that works out to ~131. My own testing shows that I earn exercise for anything over about 110.

    But at any rate... whatever the formula is... I do think it's something along these lines... that exercise credit kicks in over a certain heart rate.

    I can tell you that without starting a workout it's much easier to get Exercise credit if you check your heart rate. For instance, go for a walk at a decent pace. While walking, check your Exercise minutes. They won't be going up while you're walking. THEN, check your heart rate (using the Heart Rate glance... while you're still walking). If it comes out above the magic number for you (for me, it's around 110) then you can go back and look at your Exercise minutes and they will have jumped... adding in all of the minutes you were walking _before_ you checked your heart rate.

    If you keep walking and wait a few minutes and then do it again, you'll see the same thing.

    What I think is that the Watch interpolates in between heart rate readings... and applies the interpolated heart rate to the activity you did in that timeframe. If that activity falls above the threshold for being "exercise" then the amount of time is credited to your Exercise tally.

    Today, I did a 2 hour "Outdoor Walk" workout while I did a walking tour in downtown Boston. It was extremely slow so even though we walked about a mile and a half... I only got about 10 minutes of Exercise credit. My average heart rate was only 91...
     
  20. mtngal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    #20
    An interesting thing I learned recently about the exercise credit - it will monitor and give you credit even if the watch is locked. I had cataract surgery recently and gave my watch to my sister to hold. She walked (briskly) over to a near-by store, wandered around it for a while and walked (briskly) back, all while the watch was locked (she didn't care about actually using it). When I looked in the evening, the watch had recorded exercise credit for those times. I thought that was interesting, too.
     
  21. Roller macrumors 68020

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    Jun 25, 2003
    #21
    Ha! Exercise by proxy. I love it!
     

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