Using the Apple Watch Activity App to Meet Your Fitness Goals

By Marc Saltzman

Part of Apple Watch For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Fitness crazes never really go away. People are always looking for new ways to lose some weight and to get into better shape. Apple Watch will come in handy for health-conscious people who desire fast results but also quick feedback about how well they’re doing. Unlike many other smartwatches, Apple Watch goes above and beyond what others can do.

For example, the built-in Workout app lets you select from one of many exercises and a ton of real-time information is then calculated and presented for you.

But the Apple Watch’s core fitness-related app is Activity. As the name suggests, the Activity app keeps track of everything physical you do throughout the day — and encourages you to keep moving with gentle reminders.

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The Activity app gives you a visual snapshot of your daily activity. It’s broken down into three colored rings:

  • Move: The reddish-pink ring shows how many calories you’ve burned from moving.

  • Exercise: The lime-green ring shows how minutes of brisk activity you’ve completed that day.

  • Stand: The baby-blue ring gives you a visual indication of how often you’ve stood up after sitting or reclining.

Your goal is to complete each ring each day by reaching the suggested amount of exercise per day. The more solid each ring is, the better you’re doing — and the closer you are to reaching your fitness goals.

Before you begin any activity, however, Apple Watch wants to learn a little about you first — namely, your gender, age, height, and weight. For the numbers to be accurate — such as estimating your calories burned — the watch needs to know a few essentials about you. For example, an 8-year-old female burns calories at a different rate than a 65-year-old male.

The following sections offer a closer look at each Activity ring.

Move

The Activity app’s Move ring tells you how well you’re doing based on your personal active calorie burn goal for the day. For example, the default goal is 600 calories per day, which is a couple hours of walking around a shopping mall. If that’s too easy to reach or, on the flipside, too ambitious, you can easily make necessary adjustments to suit your needs. Just press firmly on the Apple Watch screen and change the Move goal to something more achievable: Press + or – until you see your desired goal.

To access and use the Move tab in the Activity app, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown button to access your Home screen.

  2. Tap the multicolored Activity app.

    Or raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri, Activity.” Either action launches the Activity app and you should see the Activity app’s main (summary) screen.

  3. Swipe once to the left to go to the Move tab.

    Move tells you how much you’ve moved during the day. The large number in the middle of the watch screen is your current estimated calories burned. The small number underneath is your daily goal, while the reddish-pink ring visually shows how close you are to hitting your daily goal.

    You can change your caloric goal in the Activity app by pressing on the watch screen (Digital Touch) and selecting a new goal. Press + or – to set your desired goal. You can also change your Exercise and Stand goals in the same fashion.

  4. Swipe down on the screen to see a History graph with each hour of the day presented and how well you’ve done per hour (highlighted by a vertical line).

    The taller the pinkish bar, the more you moved that hour.

Exercise

Whether you want to do something active in one shot — such as jogging on the treadmill after work — or a little bit here and there, it’s recommended you do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. What constitutes “exercise,” you ask? How is this different from mere “moving”? Any activity at the level of a brisk walk or above is considered exercise, says Apple.

To access and use the Exercise tab in the Activity app, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown button to access your Home screen.

  2. Tap the Activity app.

    Or raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri, Activity.” Either action launches the Activity app and you should see the Activity app’s main (summary) screen.

  3. Swipe twice to the left to go to the Exercise tab.

    You should see a large number in the middle of the screen. This is the total exercise time calculated for the day so far. Underneath this number is the total goal for the day (such as 30 minutes). The greenish-yellow ring also shows you how close you are to your overall daily goal. To change your goals, press firmly on the screen and tap + or – to set your desired goal.

  4. Swipe down for your History graph, which shows your hourly activity level — measured in minutes — for when you were most active.

    As you might expect, the higher the line on the graph, the better. Even if you exercise a little here and a little there, every bit helps and goes toward your daily time goal.

Stand

Many people have jobs where they sit for a good chunk of the day. Sound familiar? Apple’s Stand ring within the Activity app will remind you to move at least once per hour so you get up and walk around. By default, you’ll be notified about 50 minutes into each hour of sitting idle.

To access and use the Stand tab in the Activity app, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown button to access your Home screen.

  2. Tap the Activity app.

    Or raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri, Activity.” Either action launches the Activity app and you should see the Activity app’s main (summary) screen.

  3. Swipe three times to the left to go to the Stand tab.

    The first part of the Stand tab shows a large number in the middle of the screen. This shows how many hours you’ve stood up for (at least one minute per hour). The smaller number underneath the large number is the total goal hours (such as 12). The blue ring visually shows you how you’re doing for the day.

  4. Swipe down to access the History graph.

    You should see the day laid out chronologically and a full vertical bar for any hour you stood (for at least a minute per hour).