IPhone or Apple Watch Walking Metrics You May Not Know About


iPhone is constantly growing with new features that give users even unexpected opportunities. Even at the presentation of iOS 14, it was talked about the ability of devices to track user mobility. For this, the sensors built into the iPhone were used. On the basis of their indicators, a person’s movement was analyzed: his walking, its uniformity and speed of movement. For the data to be as correct as possible, it is better to use a smartphone in conjunction with an Apple Watch. But even without a watch, this function will work on the gadget.

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In order for the iPhone to track user activity, the smartphone must be constantly carried with you in a trouser pocket or on a belt pouch. A phone placed in your hand or in a separate bag will not give correct results. The iPhone makes seven basic measurements that allow you to form a picture of a person’s health and help to understand how ready he is for physical activity. This information will also help assess the user’s coordination and the general condition of his cardiovascular system.

You should not think that this function will be in demand only by sick people – even if you do not have health problems, it will be useful for you to get the collected information. It is likely that it will force you to pay attention to a previously ignored problem.

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How do I enable activity tracking on iPhone?

This option has very humane and minimal system requirements. Officially, Apple does not report them anywhere, but if your device is quite old, then the support service will tell you about the impossibility to enable the function. But it is known for sure about its performance on smartphones, starting with the iPhone 8, and watches, starting with the Apple Watch Series 4 model.

1. Follow the path Settings Confidentiality Movement and fitness

How do I enable activity tracking on iPhone?

2. Set the switch “Fitness tracking“To position Included

3. Allow the application “Health” (if necessary, and other applications for tracking activity) track data.

How do I enable activity tracking on iPhone?

4. Open the application “Health” and create Medical card, indicating in it your height, age and weight (in detail).

How to create your own medical record on iPhone?

How to create your own medical record on iPhone?

Medical records will help you more accurately measure activity data and make adjustments based on physical data. Let’s consider what metrics and tests the application tracks. To do this, open the application Health go to tab View and select a section Mobility

Check these walking metrics if you have an iPhone or Apple Watch

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Asymmetry when walking

Asymmetry when walking

An ordinary healthy person spends the same amount of time walking with his left or right foot. But, as you know, the human body is not entirely symmetrical. That is why, depending on our physiology, there may be some errors in movement.

And the discrepancy in the steps between the right and left legs – including evidence of an injury, surgery or some kind of disease. Then the body subconsciously unloads one leg while walking or running, loading the other. But asymmetry may well be considered the norm if a person has legs of different lengths or other congenital features of the body are present.

What does this information say?: in case of serious asymmetry in the process of walking, we can talk about violations of human posture. Depending on how neglected the situation is, one can talk about the imminent onset of scoliosis. Often, a sedentary lifestyle with a gradual deterioration in posture affects the walking process.

What is considered normal: If, after a long study of your walking, a result of 0% is shown, it indicates a balanced walking and excellent posture. Indicators up to 4% can be considered on the verge of error and ignored. But the results from 4% to 10% are a clear signal to start monitoring your posture and think about physical activity. If in the application you see an asymmetry level of more than 10%, then you should think about going to the doctor for advice.

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Double support time

Double support time

The fundamental difference between walking and running is that at any given time at least one foot touches the ground. And the double support time is the time interval during which both lower limbs touch the surface. This indicator is usually measured as a percentage of the total walking time.

Low numbers indicate that a person spends more time on one leg, that is, it keeps better balance and has more trained muscles. But high numbers indicate a low speed of movement, possible problems with muscles, joints and a short stride. It is believed that with the age of a person, this figure increases. Affects the time of the double step and the surface on which the person walks. Indeed, on a smooth and flat surface, the coefficient of weight distribution between the legs is less, and on slippery and uneven surfaces, it is more.

What this information says: an extended double step time may indicate problems with the musculoskeletal system, for example, spinal stenosis may be present. Also, this overestimated indicator accompanies neurological diseases, cerebellar disorders, motor neuropathy and various types of dementia.

What is considered normal: if a person regularly runs or at least actively walks, then his indicator will be below 20% – this is great. An estimate of 20% to 40% is the norm for middle-aged and older people. If the iPhone brought the level of this indicator above 40%, then this is a reason to pay attention to the work of your musculoskeletal system.

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Step length

Step length

Initially, it is intuitively clear what this indicator means. It calculates the average distance between the feet when walking. There is no point in comparing your performance with other people – it all depends on height, leg length and walking speed. But it is worth checking with your normal indicator, from time to time observing the change in stride length. With age, it will inevitably begin to decrease.

Influences the length of the stride and mobility, flexibility of the hips. If their joint is not able to carry out a full set of movements, then a person will not be able to take a longer step. The strength of the gluteal muscles also affects this parameter – significant efforts are required to take the leg back after a large step.

What this information says: a decrease in stride length may indicate a weakening of the gluteal muscles or incomplete movement of the hip joint. Similar changes can be observed in people with a sedentary lifestyle, sedentary or preferring to move exclusively by transport.

What is considered normal: to calculate a normal indicator, you need to understand what parameters correspond to your height. Use a statistical table for this:

Height Stride length (average)
from 150 to 160 cm from 70 to 75 cm
from 160 cm to 180 cm about 80 cm
From 180 cm from 85 cm and more

There is also a simple formula for calculating the recommended stride length:

Stride length = (Height in meters / 4) + 0.37. For example, 1.7 / 4 + 0.37 = 0.8

But assessing the change in stride length will require long-term observation.

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Walking speed

Walking speed

iOS has received built-in algorithms that allow you to assess the speed of a person’s movement not only during training, but also throughout the day. A smartphone located in the waist area will record movement indicators on a flat surface. But moving over rough terrain, stairs and other irregularities will not be taken into account.

The speed with which a person moves directly depends on the general state of his health and coordination. The purpose of walking also has an effect – walking the pet, we obviously move more slowly than in a hurry on business.

What this information says: as in the case with the previous indicator, it is not worth comparing your indicators with those of other people – it is much more important how the average speed changes. With age, it will inevitably fall, and if the decline in the indicator becomes very sharp, then this may become a signal of serious problems. Most often, the average speed drops with the onset or exacerbation of problems with the cardiovascular system.

What is considered normal: a person’s walking speed is a classic value for school mathematics. Everyone knows that it is equal to 5 km / h. In reality, this indicator depends on gender and ranges from 4 km / h to 6 km / h for men. Already trained people can show higher numbers. For women, the range of values ​​ranges from 3 to 5.5 km / h, indicators from 5.5 to 7 km / h can be considered high.

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6 minute walk

6 minute walk

This test is commonly used to assess the health of patients recovering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease. The person is asked to walk on a flat surface or a treadmill as far as possible. The time for this is 6 minutes.

But to get results in the Health app, you don’t need to manually run and take the test. Smart algorithms, based on observing daily activity, will themselves select a suitable period for evaluation. Of course, to get the result, it is necessary to carry out this six-minute drive on a flat surface throughout the day at a pace not lower than average. It is enough to take a few walks in a day, and this is enough to form the test results.

What this information says: the test helps to find out how well a person tolerates physical activity. It is believed that with full health it will be possible to walk a considerable distance without deteriorating health. If a person has problems with the respiratory system or with the cardiovascular system, then the indicator will be low. This may indicate the need to limit daily activities. And the lowest indicators are a signal that a person should allow himself only minimal physical stress.

What is considered normal: normal for an adult man will be an indicator in the region of 600 meters, and for women it is 500 meters. Those recovering from illness will be able to walk 400-450 meters for men and 350-400 meters for women.

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Ascent and Descent Speed

With the help of sensors, it is possible to assess the state of such important health systems as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and general mobility during climbing and descending stairs. If a person moves up rather quickly, then this indicates both a high level of his physical fitness and good health.

Measurements taken during the descent will help assess the person’s mobility and coordination. A quick and non-stop descent at a normal pace is also proof of good health. To fix these indicators, you will have to climb to a height of more than 3 meters with a certain regularity and descend from there. But best of all, this type of load will be determined and evaluated when paired with an Apple Watch.

What this information says: the data obtained in this direction: the speed of ascent and descent, the general pace and mobility, the presence of stops and breaks, help to collect cumulative data. The accumulated amount of information will allow you to determine the need for a certain physical activity.

What is considered normal: these data should be considered only in conjunction with the rest, because the assessment strongly depends on the previous activity to the load, as well as on the person’s height, weight and age. There is no standard norm for performing this exercise, but this indicator best allows you to assess how the general condition of the body changes over time.

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Cardio endurance

Cardio endurance

In the section “Mobility” you can find the item “Cardio endurance”, which is measured in units of VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption). This indicator indicates the highest amount of oxygen in milliliters consumed by a person within 1 minute. VO2 max is a measure of aerobic capacity.

Cardio endurance

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Why monitor iPhone activity?

The question seems logical, because the phone for many is just a tool for making calls. But the Health app on the iPhone frees users from purposeful exercise and exercise within strict rules. There is no need to waste time on various tests and measurements – the system automatically takes all the necessary indicators. And all you need is that the smartphone is constantly in your pocket or in a bag on your belt. Intelligent algorithms will fix the volume of the load and calculate the indicators themselves.

It should be understood that the results provided by the smartphone will differ from the data of the tests conducted in medical centers. But even more accurate measurements are not necessary for everyone, but only for persons with a tendency to certain diseases. The Health app on iOS will help you find and identify the problem.

Obviously inaccurate or false data will be discarded by smart algorithms, in particular, they will ignore walking on uneven surfaces or in an unusual environment for a person. You just need to activate a couple of options on your iPhone, and in a few weeks you will already receive a certain assessment of your activity and possible identification of problems. Now for this you do not need to undergo a long and expensive examination and perform special tasks.

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