When Apple introduced the Apple Watch almost ten years ago, one of the nicest features available was the Activity Rings. They measure your daily activity in three categories: move, exercise, and stand. While the goal to fill up all three rings daily gave several people a better approach to their fitness, it now seems that the Activity Rings have become toxic as the Apple Watch is never satisfied with your achievements.
That said, even if you run a marathon, swim from England to France, or do your traditional strength workout, on the next day, the Apple Watch will say, “You did well yesterday. How about doing the same today?” watchOS 10 needs to change that.
While the Activity Rings are a great way to stay active, they can also make people feel like they must reach their goals every day or they’re failing. This can be very toxic, and it can lead to people feeling like they’re not doing enough or not doing it fast enough.
That said, how the Activity Rings are currently set up can also make people over-exercise and push their bodies beyond what is healthy. With the upcoming operating system that Apple will unveil for the Apple Watch during the WWDC 2023 keynote, watchOS 10, it seems it’s time for Apple to take a more compassionate approach regarding the Activity Rings.
Here are some ideas Apple could use with watchOS 10 and its Activity Rings approach
Apple could take inspiration from Gentler Streak, the app it nominated the best for Apple Watch in 2022. While I think Gentler Streak brings a unique view of exercising, Apple could learn a thing or two with it.
For example, the Activity Rings could be interchangeable, so if the user burned twice their goal’s calories, Apple could make it less for the upcoming day. If 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough for us to stay active and healthy, if you work out for 120 minutes today, maybe Apple could give you a different goal for tomorrow.
Even if the company doesn’t do that, it could have a less toxic approach with its push notifications. It could say, “You did well yesterday,” but it doesn’t need to add, “How about doing the same today?” Another change could be ending some of the prize badges with watchOS 10.
For example, Apple has a good approach to Monthly Activities, such as Yoga Day, Dance Day, etc. It asks you to do a 20-minute workout, and that’s it. This way, users can engage in activities but don’t overreach.
Last but not least, weekly goals could become five-day goals. This way, users can understand that it’s fine to rest.
Even if Apple adopts all of these changes with watchOS 10, users that care about their fitness goals would still find value in apps such as Gentler Streak, as the app offers an Activity Path showing how’s your body for that day, suggests workouts with Go Gentler, and even brings better insights thanks to the new Wellbeing tab.
watchOS 10 will likely be announced a few months from now during the WWDC 2023 keynote, which should take place in June.