What does the watch consider exercise?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by randyj, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. randyj macrumors regular

    randyj

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    #1
    That Exercise ring is a mystery and seems to have a mind of its own.

    For example, yesterday I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of weighs followed by a 35 minute run on a treadmill using the exercise app. The exercise ring showed a total of 24 minutes of exercise.

    While I wouldn't expect it to pick up much from the weight session, I did expect it to be close to all the time I was running.

    I have tried on other days tightening the watch band one hole (sport band) when I exercise, and that does seem to help in registering the exercise time more consistently.

    Does anyone know the exact criteria for the Apple Watch to consider what is exercise?

    Is it a percentage of maximum heart rate for an amount of time before it adds a minute etc?
     
  2. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

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    May 14, 2012
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    UK
    #2
    I don't know the criteria but suspect heart rate is an important factor. I went round an 8 acre maze yesterday but we were taking our time, and didn't register any exercise in two hours :)
     
  3. testcard macrumors 68030

    testcard

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    #3
    For me, it seems to register a brisk walk as exercise.
     
  4. powerbook911 macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

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    Mar 15, 2005
    #4
    I think it wants elevated heart rate, just how high depending on your age/weight/height/gender as well as some movement. A high heart rate won't do it alone, and movement won't do it alone.

    It doesn't seem to be a perfect science, but now that I know what it counts a bit better, I don't mind it.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #5
    I can't answer for the apple watch specifically but I believe it uses heart rate. For instance my Fitbit Surge records an exercise for me at times when I'm not really actively exercising. I'm walking from one train station to another. Is my walk brisk, yes, but am I working out, no.
     
  6. Newtons Apple, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #6
    No doubt the HR dictates what is excercise or not on the watch. I believe the watch calculates from the information like weight and age and at a certain HR it triggers and starts to count the activity as excercise.

    I can walk for miles and not get a single minute of excercise but the walk up a double or triple flight of stairs and elevate the HR and the minutes accumulate. Even a brisk walk will do it. I would guess the "trigger rate" would be different depending on each person's data.

    Update: Seems it is not just HR as my knee was needing a rest so I went out for a brisk walk today rather than my run and after initiating a outdoor walk on my watch, I walked for about 35 minutes and accumulated my first 25 minutes of excercise. When get back to the house I noted my HR was at 145. I thought why turn off the walk on the watch, I will let it accumulate a few more minutes while sitting in the Lazyboy. To my surprise not a single additional minute was added even though my HR was still at 135. So it is not just HR it is also movement together, maybe?
     
  7. bushido Suspended

    bushido

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    Germany
    #7
    i dont get it either. on friday i was modtly sitting in the library and i finished the 30 mins ring by the end of the day. yesterday i was actually out all day for about 13 km and i had only 26 mins by the end of the day
     
  8. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    Exercise credit is equal to 'a brisk walk or above' within your physical metrics. To receive credit during weight training you should use the Workout App in Other. When you were on the treadmill did you have it on Indoor Run? If so were you running for the entire 35 minutes?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #9
    1.0.1 probably screws all this up. Since it will not take an HR reading if your arm is moving, then it cannot be using HR to determine if a minute counts as exercise. And even in the best case prior to 1.0.1, it would only get an HR reading every 10 minutes anyway. So, it must solely be counting an exercise minute from movement detected on your wrist. That seem pretty dodgy at best.

    Realistically, you will need to use one of the Workouts to get exercise credit. Otherwise the watch has no meaningful way to reliably guess if you are doing anything.
     
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #10
    Yes, exactly. Also, the watch might use HR as one criteria for deciding if you are exercising, but it can't be the only criteria, because sometimes if I comb my hair with the watch on, it gives me a minute or so of exercise, and I doubt my heart rate gets elevated from combing my hair.
     
  11. rockyroad55 macrumors 601

    rockyroad55

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    Jul 14, 2010
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    Phila, PA
    #11
    It can't be all heart rate. I have heart rate tracking turned off on my watch and sometimes it registers as exercise. It mainly registers if I'm walking really fast towards my train haha
     
  12. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

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    #12
    I agree, I've registered exercise from scrubbing some oven pans before...
     
  13. BlueMoon63, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    You were at the gym lifting weights and running on the treadmill and got 24 minutes using the exercise app? Something is wrong here. Did you set the workout app since you were working out? That's the first thing to do if you are working out - right? Workout "other" works for everything and it is all I use. You then get credit for your whole workout. If you ran on the treadmill for 35 minutes - even without the workout app on, you should register 35 minutes if you are running and moving your arms, but again, I use the workout app because I am ...ummm.. working out and some people run without moving their arms and then it has to count the vibrations in your steps I think

    Without the workout app, you will not get heart rate readings at all since your arm is not still typically. That's how version 1.0.1 works right? If I don't set the workout app, it is more arm movement over brisk walk thought they are synonymous really. I've tested this. Walking fast at about 4mph for 20 minutes equaled 20 minutes while walking much slower around 3mph with light arm movement didn't count for half the walk but with way more arm swings equaling minute for minute without fail... even at a slow pace.

    But again, if you are working out, turn on the workout app and pick a choice. Lifting and running for me is always other workout because I mostly run/walk during rest periods and use HIIT. If I work on the yard i use the workout app "other" as well.

    Probably just a learning curve I would assume. Take advantage of the workout app "other" at least and you will have the workout minutes covered, the calories counting and your heart rate monitored because apps are coming and they are taking advantage of your constant heart rate and all other data to give overall health improvements.
     
  14. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #14
    If you moving, the heart rate doesn't work without the workout app turned on... With version 1.0.1 your heart rate will not be monitored if your arms are moving and you are not setting the workout app. You can fool almost all devices you wear on your wrist by moving your arms. If the watch tells you to stand and you move your arms for about 20 seconds, it will think you stood. It's all arm movement as far as I know unless you have the heart rate monitor on which burns about 8-10% (max) per hour of battery.
     
  15. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #15
    I confounded mine today. I suppose a four-hour walk at my wife's pace wasn't enough to trigger exercise credit.
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1440030393.248851.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1440030412.680478.jpg
     
  16. BlueMoon63, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015

    BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    #16
    That doesn't make sense. Not you... the workout app. If you set the workout (like you did) it shouldn't matter what speed you were working out - exercise minutes should have been about 240 minutes. At least that is my understanding. It makes me think the Workout App with Outdoor Walk has to be a problem. :(

    When I golf, I set it up as Workout Other and if it takes 120 minutes to golf 9 holes, I get credit for 120 minutes. Much of that time is standing still waiting for my turn to hit or putt. There is plenty of rest time. Granted, my heart rate is almost always 115-130bpm because I carry my clubs and it has been very hot. But I get credit 1:1 and the same goes for my weightlifting which has plenty of time warming up with little movement in heart rate.

    As far as I "thought" if you turn on the workout app, you get credit for all minutes as exercise. Your calories look right, your distance looks right and it appears you walked at the proper pace being with you wife (2.8 mph roughly). :)

    I guess it is possible that using the workout app doesn't go 1:1 if you use Workout Outdoor Walk - the only way to figure that out would be to try Workout Other. I've only ever used Workout Other.

    Let us know if it was Workout Outdoor Walk that is the problem. I guess you could check right now and do a 5 minute workout other and just sit there and see if you get credit for 5 minutes of exercise. Still seems like a flaw but I don't know.

    I just did a check on my workouts and the problem with Workout Other might be why you used Workout Outdoor Walk - I get credit for all exercise minutes and heart rate and calories, but there is no direct logging of distance. So, the fact that you two were walking so slow, it may not count that as exercise. :( I get random credit for walking to the mailbox or walking the dogs outside. If that is the case, why even set the Workout Outdoor Walk. I go for a walk by myself walking at 3.5-3.7 mph with significant arm movement without turning on any exercise app and I get credit for 30 minutes if I walk for 30 minutes and calorie count and I will get total distance. Just no heart rate...
     
  17. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #17
    Yeah, every other workout I've done has counted directly to the Exercise ring. I've even had a few days where the ring "filled" three or four times around since I turned on a workout several times.

    Eh, I shouldn't mind since I'm not competing with anyone for cash. ;) I'm confused by the inconsistency, though.
     
  18. Nell macrumors regular

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    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #18
    'Other' will give you credit for every minute you have the workout going (even if you are sitting on the sofa with your feet up). The rest of the workout options, 'Outdoor walk' etc, will credit you for however many minutes the watch reckons you have been exercising (i.e. brisk walk or above). This is presumably based on arm movement and heart rate (assuming you are using the workout app).

    Using the app or not, I can get exercise minutes just from moving my arms but I need to be moving them quickly which is actually enough to raise my heart rate (and sometimes break into a sweat).

    I think my watch does register more exercise minutes when I start an 'Outdoor Walk' workout when I'm out walking, but not by much: it seems to give me credit for exercising when I'm walking fast (and none when I'm walking slowly). Occasionally I've used the 'Other' workout option while walking (generally because I've hit the wrong option by mistake) and I think it also gives more calories which is likely to be wrong. I do use it for crazy dancing and jumping about when I figure I need to get my exercise more quickly (but again, I'll generally get the minutes without using the workout app).
     
  19. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #19
    I also just remembered that the watch recommended a new (and lower, I'm embarrassed to say) Move goal over the weekend. Maybe it also adjusted its standard for what it considers "exercise".
     
  20. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Atlanta
    #20
    Adjusting your Move goal won't have any effect on the Exercise goal. Exercise is determined by you individual metrics. One way to 'cheat' Exercise is to up your age.

    Other should not be used as a cheat for walking leisurely, playing golf or sitting on the couch. Other is designed to be used in mixed anaerobic exercises like weight training, competitive basketball, interval training, intense tennis, X-fit, Racquetball,.....

    In mixed anaerobic exercise HR is not an accurate indicator of calories burned or effort exserted. This is why Other is included.
     
  21. Nell macrumors regular

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    London
    #21
    Ah yes. That's why I have no problem getting my exercise minutes: I am old! And fat; I suspect that helps too.
     
  22. RabbitLuvr macrumors 6502

    RabbitLuvr

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    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #22
    Twice now my Watch has alerted me that I've hit all my daily goals, but when I check on my phone I'm short on my Stand goal. This kinda pisses me off.
     
  23. chrismac2 macrumors regular

    chrismac2

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    Location:
    Renton, WA
    #23
    That was very healthy, great amount of activity. But look at your average heartrate of 86BPM. I believe to count as exercise, it only counts the minutes that your heart rate was "in the zone", which depends on how old you are, etc.

    For me, I think it's around 130BPM that it registers as exercise. Just selecting the workout app is not enough. You can do an outdoor walk, using the workout app, walk all day, and not get exercise credit. During your workout, have the heart rate on your screen and increase the intensity of your workout activity till it's around 130, and you'll see that exercise ring give you the credit.
     
  24. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #24
    I think this is true though when you use Workout other, it looks to be 1:1 no matter what your pace is... Now it makes me wonder when others have complained about exercise and maybe why I always have success because I only use workout other. I noticed his low heart rate and 2.8 or so mph and that is just not much for movement but it should could as calories and that appeared to work as planned. I think the watch was working as expected.

    I will add the OS2 beta 5 is definitely more sensitive to movement and does a better job and recording exercise on any movement without setting a workout.
     
  25. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #25

    Success in recording exercise using Other does not equal success in actual doing exercise. Unless you are doing strenuous anaerobic activities.
     

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