Monday, March 27

Dame a breath, Apple Watch

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Apple Watch arrived in Spain along with six other countries. That same morning, first thing in the morning, I left the Sol Apple Store with my watch under my arm. Since then, almost seven years and six generations later, I can’t remember a day that it wasn’t on my wrist. Serve this as a context for whoever writes: I am not suspected of defenestrating the Apple Watch. Upside down.

However, and despite all the good it brings me, there is something that squeaks more and more: the Apple Watch does not give truce, something good a priori that has a counterpart that is accentuated as time progresses. An explanation in the style of The Simpsons conversation, homage to The Gremlins, in which Homer and a sinister old man were negotiating for a yogulate:

  • The Apple Watch shows you your activity trends to see if you have moved more in the last three months than in the last year.
  • That is good!
  • Its interface encourages you to keep moving faster and faster, which can lead to overload.
  • That’s bad!
  • Apple Watch launches notifications every hour you are stopped to remind you that it is important to move.
  • That is good!
  • It offers data about your workouts, but does not show the recovery and rest time needed until the next exercise.
  • That’s bad!
  • Not getting adequate rest after prolonged exercise can lead to injury.
  • …that’s bad.

Data without context

For those who are not used to wearing this watch on their wrist, this is what I mean by activity trends:

The interface and those arrows, which indicate whether the trend is positive (up arrow) or negative (down arrow), induce us to try to keep them upward forever. The upward arrow as directed by Apple, “means that you are maintaining or improving your physical condition.” What is the problem? That context is missing. How lack of rest time.

The most popular smartwatch still does not offer values ​​focused on recovery time, on rest after exercise

Watches like the Garmin, focused on athletes, do take into account the need for rest and indicate, after each exercise session, the estimated time for a full recovery based on body metrics such as heart rate, zones to which it has arrived, the variability of that heart rate, etc.

The Apple Watch, seven generations later, still does not take into account how necessary it is to rest. Not long ago he incorporated “conscious recovery” (stretching and controlled breathing) into Apple Fitness+… your paid subscription service. As an extra after training, but without data on that recovery.

The 11 best apps for exercising at home

A practical example: someone only does long walks that do not load the legs. You spend a lot of time (exercise minutes) walking (a lot of distance) and burning a lot of energy (calories), all metrics including clock trends. If one day, in better physical shape, you start running and complete a marathon, the Watch does not contextualize that information. It does not suggest resting after long shoots, which are much higher than that of any walk and require subsequent rest. In fact, it continues to urge you to move and exercise. Somewhat dangerous: overloads lead to injuries.


Going from walking or running 9.4 km a day to 9.3 km a day is bad news for the Apple Watch. It is?

Another example: someone walks 30 kilometers a week and runs another 40 kilometers. These are magnificent figures, usually well above the desirable target of the average population. If you walk and run a little less, the clock will end up giving you negative reinforcement, giving you the idea that having lowered your activity level is harmful.

Maybe you just have less time than before but keep doing the same for less time. Or maybe you’ve traded some of those sessions for time at the gym or doing another sport. The Watch penalizes the same: walking or running less is always considered bad news. Clearly it doesn’t have to be this way. Context is everything.

Focusing trends on walking and running, without the option of setting goals that we take for granted or adding other sports, is another important lack

On the wrist of a user who knows what he is doing, it may be little more than an eyebrow and little more, but if someone with blind faith in what the watch dictates tries to keep up with that rhythm eternally, he may be taking the wrong steps, falling In something harmful to your health: overtraining, or focusing on walking more and running more, as if tennis, crossfit, cycling or climbing did not exist. Because the metrics that appear in the trends cannot be modified, they cannot set specific goals, such as cycling 60 km per week, or playing tennis twice a week, and accept any average that equals or improves that goal. Something like this would be desirable and positive, but it is not allowed today.

The Apple Watch does a great job with our health, especially as a starter, as a driver for us to start moving more, to spend less time sitting without changing posture or walking every now and then, to exercise more … However, It neither takes into account the rest we need nor does it contextualize our data before giving us feedback. It would be very good if, apart from including the paddle, take this into account for the watchOS of 2022.