I am in the midst of training for a marathon in late October, so I’ve been inching my runs up ever so slightly. Last weekend, I did a nine-mile run. While you are reading this, I am probably in the middle of a ten-mile run. I plan to keep inching my weekend long runs up ever so slightly until I hit eighteen or so. Since I’ve been in training mode, I am realizing some of the edge cases where Activity Rings fall apart for people who train frequently. When I woke up last Sunday, the last thing I wanted to do was exercise again. My legs were sore from running fifteen miles in the previous two days. While I didn’t run early that morning, I did go out and run a 5k that evening in order to close my rings. And I’d be lying if I said my Activity Competition with Zac Hall wasn’t weighing on me in the back of my mind. During my run that Sunday evening, I brainstormed on some ways that Apple could tweak Activity Rings to make them better suited for people who do heavy weights or heavy cardio and need rest days to recover. Here’s what Activity Rings 2.0 in Apple Watch could look like (including ideas for tweaking Activity Competitions).
Rolling over points for the next day
One of my frustrations with the Activity Competitions on Apple Watch is you can only get a maximum of six hundred points per day. This also bleeds over into my frustrations with the current Activity Ring set up as well. The day after my marathon in October, there is a zero percent chance I will reach my stand, move, or exercise goal. I’ll be doing good just to make it out of bed. Why doesn’t the Apple Watch take that into consideration? One idea I had was to let you bank points to use the next day. It wouldn’t be a one for one trade, though. It would be a one for one-third trade. If I do an extra thirty minutes of exercise time today, then I could get a ten-minute waiver for the following day and still get credit for closing my rings. The same concept could work with Activity Competitions as well. If Apple wants the daily “max” to be six hundred, then let me roll over one-third of how much I go over that. If I technically would have received 900 points (300 over the max), then start me out at 100 for the beginning of the next day. This method of rolling over points would let me take into account heavier workouts with needing to rest the following day. I think this would be a welcome change in Activity Rings 2.0.
I know a lot of people pride themselves on closing their rings every day. Of the days I’ve owned an Apple Watch, I’ve probably not closed them under ten times. Most of them were either coming off a heavy workout (see my point from above) or if I was sick. Why can’t Apple account for sick days with Activity Rings? Here’s my suggestion: For every 60 days you close your rings, you get a “sick day”. You can only use it if you are less than 20% to your daily move or exercise goal for the day. The idea behind that is if you are towards the end of the day and just want to ditch the gym, you can’t claim a sick day. By adding in a sick day option in Activity Rings 2.0, you could still aim to close your rings daily, but know you can take a “sick day” without breaking your streak.
Wrap-up on Activity Rings 2.0
What are your thoughts on my suggested changes? Is the current model perfect or should Apple tweak it? Have you noticed your health improving as you’ve worn your Apple Watch? I think Apple’s focus on health is great, and I can’t wait to see how advances in technology improve the Apple Watch even more. With watchOS 6‘s features already set, it’s possible we could see some Activity Rings updates in watchOS 7.