Apple’s latest wellness metric: Physical Effort

Apple has incorporated a fresh metric known as ‘Physical Effort’ into Apple Health, which has been included in the Beta version of their software.

This new metric was initially detected by users on Reddit. It was launched as part of the recent releases of watchOS 10 and iOS 17 Dev Beta 1. Both updates were deployed within the last couple of days.

Apple Physical Effort – what is it about?

The Physical Effort metric appears in the Apple Health app. It calculates your exertion throughout the day, providing a more comprehensive view of your physical activities. Whether you’re cycling up a steep hill or simply going about your daily tasks, this metric is designed to capture the effort you’re putting in.

“Physical Effort is an estimate of the energy you’re using to perform a task excluding other factors such as temperature, altitude, or heart rate. This makes Physical Effort a good indicator of your overall effort and intensity levels when it comes to exercise and other day-to-day activities.” Apple writes.

Physical Effort is measured in METs. This stands for metabolic equivalent of task. One MET represents the energy you use when you’re not moving and calm. Anything above that indicates that you are active.

However, the Physical Effort metric is not retroactive. It only begins tracking from the day of the WatchOS 10 or iOS 17 Dev Beta 1 update. This means that users won’t be able to view their Physical Effort data from previous months. Of course, this could change by the time it hits official public release.

Apple Physical Effort

This is an interesting addition to the wealth of data available in the Health app. It has the potential to capture effort in activities that might not be fast-paced but still require significant exertion, such as cycling up long hills.

Apple Physical Effort

And who knows? Perhaps this is a step towards the inclusion of a fully fledged Recovery Metric, something akin to what is already available on Garmin watches and Whoop. There’s also the potential for third-party apps to leverage this data, providing even more detailed physiological metrics.

watchOS 10 introduces a plethora of other changes

Apple has been in all the news in recent days. As revealed on its Developers’ Conference, the latest watchOS 10 introduces new ways to navigate and access content with widgets that display relevant information when needed, and redesigned existing apps for enhanced functionality. For instance, rotating the Digital Crown now reveals full-screen views of health and fitness data​.

Essential readingBest fitness trackers and health gadgets

The focus on personal health and fitness has been amplified with features specifically designed for cycling and hiking enthusiasts. For cyclists, the watch can connect to Bluetooth-enabled bike sensors, providing various features including a live activity display on the iPhone. For hikers, features like a compass generating waypoints and a new elevation view using the altimeter have been added. Additionally, new Workout APIs provide developers access to high-frequency motion data, leading to more accurate sports apps

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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