I found an app that shows Apple how to fix the Apple Watch

ByLance T. Lee

Aug 30, 2022

Before, I thought watches weren’t for me. Why would I need a piece of metal strapped to my wrist when I could just use the position of the sun (or, you know, my iPhone) to tell the time of day like a real man? That is, until someone let me borrow their old Apple Watch.

Now I’m addicted. My Apple Watch is absolutely essential to me, whether I’m just checking the time, responding to notifications, or tracking my workouts. But it was that last thing that highlighted to me a real problem with Apple’s wearable – and something the company still hasn’t fixed nearly a decade after first revealing the device. time.

No time to recover

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Apple Watch encourages you to be active by closing three separate rings each day: one for exercising, one for moving, and one for standing. As you achieve these goals day by day, you build a streak that Apple encourages you to maintain over time.

The problem is that there is simply no respite in your streak. It’s all or nothing, use it or lose it, regardless of minor inconveniences like illness, injury or an act of God.

This is a problem for two reasons. The first is that it is far too rigid for the vagaries of everyday life. What if you are struck down by an illness and bedridden for a few days? Here’s your sequence, you good-for-nothing sloth.

I know what you’re feeling. Earlier this year I had bad food poisoning and spent half the night and the next morning throwing up. But in the evening, I was harassed by my Apple Watch, and my overly competitive side just couldn’t let my streak end. So I got up and trudged outside for half an hour to close my exercise ring, even though I really should have stayed in bed. My Apple Watch (and, yes, my own Competitiveness) just hasn’t figured out that sometimes I’m in no condition to exercise.

The second problem is that this relentless approach goes against what we know is best for the body. A period of rest and recovery is important after strenuous exercise, both to avoid injury and to consolidate what you have learned from exercise. Yet your streak is broken if you try to do it with the Apple Watch.

Gentler Streak offers a better way

An Apple Watch and iPhone showing the Gentler Streaks workout app in use.
Alex Blake/Digital Trends

I recently came across an app that shows how Apple could do things differently. It’s called Gentler Streak, and the name is really appropriate. While it also uses exercise streaks like Apple’s Workouts app, Gentler Streak lets you have recovery days.

In fact, it actively encourages you to rest. Your activities are measured along a green horizontal bar called the Activity Path, with the app learning what you can do over time. If an exercise takes you too high on that bar, it’s a sign that you’re pushing your body too far. After that, the app offers you to take a day off to let your body recover.

Compare that to Apple’s Workouts app, which praises you for beating your daily goals, but never considers you might be overdoing it. It’s as if Apple’s solution is an excited puppy blinded by its own tunnel vision.

Apple Watch and iPhone 13 Pro displaying workout data.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The key to Gentler Streak is that rest days don’t interrupt your exercise run. There’s no more nagging you to train over and over again if your body isn’t ready. The app developer says it tries to challenge “the unrealistic mindset of always pushing harder”.

Even better, you can tell the app when you’re sick, injured, or on vacation, how hidden the activity path is so you don’t even have to think about it.

Yet despite all of this, I still try to close my rings every day, even now that I’m using Gentler Streak. That’s because even though it recognizes rest days, Apple’s Workouts app doesn’t, so I’m still getting hassled every day because I’m not going for a walk or pumping iron.

Apple really needs to rethink this one

My competitive nature won’t spare me the guilt of losing my streak (currently at 572 days, so that’s not nothing), but I’d like my Apple Watch to give me some slack, even if my brain doesn’t. will not. Sure, I could manually add cheat workouts to the Health app to close my rings when I’m not able to exercise, but I shouldn’t have to cheat just to satisfy my Apple Watch.

Gentler Streak app on Apple Watch.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Gentler Streak isn’t perfect, but it goes a long way to showing Apple what it could do with its Workouts app. I’m not some inflexible cyborg, endlessly able to exercise every day without fail in a quest to become one with my hiking boots.

Some days I’m going to need to rest, and some days I’m going on vacation. Apple needs to be more realistic without pressuring or penalizing its users for being health conscious.

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