Some thoughts on using Apple devices to get fit

I have now become one of those people who tries to close their rings every day! I tease myself, but I am also happy to try and do it. I find my fitness has definitely improved from the low point it was during the pandemic.

Here’s some tips and things I’ve learned along the way that might help you too if you decide to get fitter this way.

Start of with the default goals when it comes to your rings. You want goals that are achievable but not too easy. To determine that, I recommend you use the watch for a week or so to get some measure of how you are doing. Now it is time to determine your goals.

When it comes to determining your goals, I suggest you go into the Fitness app on your phone. Go to the Summary tab, click on the box labelled Activity. Scroll down to Trends. You can click on Move or Exercise or Stand to see how well you are doing. I found I could meet the default Stand and Exercise goals, but I was having problems with the 900 cal/day goal for Move. I was achieving about 750 cal/day. To stretch and encourage myself, I wanted to change my move goal to 800 cal/day. 

To changing goals, you can go into the Fitness app on your phone. Go to the Summary tab, click on the green avatar on the top right and then click on Change Goals. It’s pretty straightforward to do that.

Now all you have to do is get off the couch or step away from the deck and close those rings!

I found the Stand goal is helpful for me because it was the first one I could achieve. Whenever I don’t achieve it I now I am sitting down or lying down too much.

Once I had the Stand goal in hand, I went to tackle the Exercise goal. While typical workouts are a good way to achieve that, so to is a brisk walk. I found I was able to get my heart rate up to 70% of my maximum heart rate just by walking. You likely will too. If I do nothing else in terms of exercise, walking alone can get me to meet my exercise goal.

I hate to say it, but it is easy to cheat on your Exercise goal. I found this out when I decided to include housework as exercise. To do that, I picked “Other” as a workout on my watch. After 15 minutes or so of housework, I stopped the workout and checked the data, only to find my heart rate was much lower than a brisk walk (not to mention other workouts). I think housework is good for helping me achieve my Move goals and Stand goals, but I will not include it off my Exercise goals. But that’s just me, though. Housework can be hard work and for some it definitely counts as exercise. (For more on other workouts, read this.)

Speaking of heart rates, I found them too high and reset mine. These should be the correct target heart rates. You can learn how to change them, as well as display them, here: use heart rate zone tracking with the Apple Watch.

I found the Move goal hardest to reach. Stand and Exercise are easy to measure. If you find that too and you need help with meeting it, read this. I learned a lot from that piece.

Finally, I was disappointed to find all this exercise was not doing much for my VO2 Max numbers. Then I read how smartwatches aren’t very good at measuring this. At best, you want to see the number trend up. But don’t put too much value in a given number.



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