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Apple Watch and fitness: A couch potato's perspective

Marco Tabini | July 3, 2015
Can wearable technology help exercise haters get off the couch?

Burn, baby, burn

I've also started tracking my energy intake and expenditure. After all, the Fitness app makes keeping tabs on the latter trivial--all I have to do is wear the watch--and it seems only fitting that, once you figure out how many calories you're burning, you also want to know how many you're eating.

The Watch has no way to help with that, of course, but being part of the world's largest mobile software ecosystem means that there are plenty of complementary apps that can be used for this purpose. For my part, I ended up using MyFitnessPal, which, in addition to being free, comes with a database that includes just about any kind of food you can think of.

I have no way of telling how accurate the whole system is, but, at least at my level of fitness, precision isn't really the point. Instead, with the order-of-magnitude idea that the Watch and MyFitnessPal give me, I can get a good idea of whether I should skip that extra piece of bread that I didn't really earn, on any given day.

My enemy is a circle

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the circle that gives me the most trouble is the one that tracks exercise. Despite a few attempts at calibrating the Workout app, I cannot seem to get the Watch to properly account for the number of minutes I think I spend exercising.

Thus, on some days, I will get to the end of the afternoon with a nearly full circle despite having done nothing special, while on others I will go on what feel like long, brisk walks for an hour or more without even managing to nudge the indicator forward, regardless of whether I explicitly start the Workout app or simply let the Watch track my activity on its own.

Despite a fair amount of fiddling, I haven't quite managed to figure out what I'm doing wrong--more importantly, I don't feel that Apple's software is really helping me get a good handle on the situation, and I hope that things will get better as new versions of watchOS see the light of day.

You are here

As you have probably surmised by now, the biggest impact that the Watch has had on my daily life has been to give me a sense of context through which I can keep an eye on my health and fitness. With hard data at my disposal, I can make better decisions and work on improving the things that matter almost without thinking.

If you're a fitness buff, I doubt that any of this will sound particularly revolutionary--indeed, all of the features I've described here can be performed just as well by using a dedicated fitness device, which is also likely to cost less than an Apple Watch.


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