Apple Watch and Activity, the keys to understanding it

The Apple Watch was the king of Christmas shopping as we have read in the reports of some analysts with more than 5 million units sold. The new models, the drop in prices with respect to the launch of the original model, the wide range of finishes, colors and straps … It has undoubtedly become the reference of smartwatches and many users who previously used a simple quantifying bracelet now They have decided to use an Apple Watch, which in addition to everything their bracelet did offers many more options. But there is something that baffles many users and is the way in which the Apple Watch measures your physical activity. We explain the keys to understand it.


We start with one of the notifications that irritate many: Stand up. It is really a recommendation that is already several years old and is backed by a multitude of scientific studies. Walking for about 5 minutes every hour is healthy and prevents metabolic diseases such as diabetes. But perhaps the problem lies in Apple's own notification: It is not about standing up but doing some activity every hour, yes, minimum. The notification also arrives before the end of the hour, in order to get the point of that time. If you get the 12 points of the day you will have filled in the ring.


It is perhaps the point that creates more uncertainty. What does Apple consider exercise? The company defines it as any activity that involves a small effort to your body, such as a fast-paced walk. The Apple Watch monitors in addition to your movements, heart rate and the activity you do must have a certain impact on the frequency of your heart for Apple to consider it an exercise otherwise it will not quantify it. So doing the same activity two people can get different results on the Apple Watch, depending on the effort involved for each.


Finally we reach the ring that qualifies the calories we have spent. As with the previous one, the Apple Watch uses motion and heart rate sensors to quantify the calories you consume, but only the "Active Calories." Apple talks about "Energy in activity" to refer to the active calories that are those consumed when we do a physical activity. In addition there are the "Basal Calories" or "Energy at rest" which are what we consume for the simple fact of being alive through vital processes such as breathing. The total calories we consume are the result of the sum of these two, but the movement ring only refers to the active ones.

This movement objective is the only one that we can modify to our liking, either during the initial configuration of the Apple Watch or at any time using the Force Touch from within the Clock activity app. In addition to defining our goal of calories to consume (remember that they are only the "active") we can see a weekly summary of our activity.

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