Recently as an early combination birthmas present (I was born in October, and then there’s that whole thing in December) I got a deal on a refurbished Apple Watch, specifically a Series 6 because it was the earliest model with all the current biometric sensors.
I’m in no way a biometrics nerd like, say, Winnie Lim (who has good reasons to be), but nonetheless I’ve been enjoying the more accurate and complete look at various bits of data.
After my first evening walk with the watch, I set up future walks based upon now having specific information about the length of my usual routes, so now I really do know just how much exercise I am getting.
My usual walk has a long loop that I target no matter what, which is about a mile, and a short loop that I tack on if I can, which adds just under half a mile. I’ve actually got two versions of the long loop: one east through the residential neighborhood, and one west into the neighborhood’s “downtown”.
Typically, my “exercise” pace makes a mile in seventeen minutes and change. If I have to limit myself to a stroll, it’s closer to twenty-one minutes. On most days, I land at something just over eighteen minutes.
That’s basically all I can do as far as exercise is concerned, and more often than not any stretch of a few days of being able to make both the long and the short loops degrades into only being able to make the long loop. This is among the many reasons why I told my pulmonologist that deconditioning doesn’t explain my fatigue.
Or, at least, my clear resource wall—or cliff, as sometimes the case may be. Yesterday, I made the long loop and at the tail end had to make a side-trip to the nearby grocery store. On the way out, I fell to feeling light-headed, dizzy, and weak in the legs.
Which brings me to what actually motivated me to sit down and write a post about exercise data: I’ve just submitted a feature request to Apple.
What I need to be able to do in their Health app is to view health events—such as workouts, biometric readings, medications taken, and records from my healthcare provider—in a sort of timeline view. Further, I need to be able to add notes to any particular item or event.
In much the same way that accounting for income and expenses as they happen, in real time, has benefitted my ability to stay on budget and/or track down what happened if somehow I haven’t, these Health app features would allow me more easily to discuss things with my doctors because I’d have both real data and my own observations tied together in an easily-browsable format.
I’d have really liked, for example, to have been able to record yesterday’s mysterious exercise-driven symptoms right then and there, net to the record of my walk and its biometric.
I’ve talked repeatedly and at length here about how my brain requires narrative to function, because anything resembling a database escapes my real comprehension. Right now, the Health app is far more the latter than the former, making it not quite as truly and seriously useful to me as it could be.
So, having the watch definitely has been a boon to my own understanding, and I’m only mildly addicted to seeing things like my heart rate in different contexts.
(The other day, I was able to see for myself that my anxiety response really does feature an elevated heart rate and, what’s more, see exactly by how much. It wasn’t so much that this was any sort of surprise but that it was nice to put data to my physical experience of anxiety.)
That said, Apple has a ways to go before their Health app ecosystem becomes truly useful for informing medical care as opposed to “just” one’s personal wellness regimen.