Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Gamifying Health With the Apple Watch

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

There’s something super effective for me about gaming health with easy-to-capture metrics and achievable short-term and long-term goals. I could diet and exercise on my own but I had no idea where to start before; relying on Apple Watch as a coach has totally made the difference for me. Apple Watch has tremendously helped motivate me to change my life for the better and I’m happier for it today.

Even if you — as I — don’t really track your weight or diet, Hall’s story is a great reminder of how the Watch simply makes you aware of your health. The very concept of needing a prompt to stand up or exercise more is a bit deflating, in the sense that this is something that all of us should be doing automatically, but trying to do so regularly when you’re focused on so many things at a sedentary desk job can be a bit tricky.

Silly as it may be, the achievements in Activity got me to start thinking about my physical activity a lot more this past year. I began walking to work in the spring, and continued to walk in at least one direction until partway through November. Since I didn’t want to break my monthly streak, I found a way to use Calgary’s +15 system to walk most of the length of downtown to my apartment. It’s not much, but it keeps me active, even on cold days — Weather Line reports that it’s going to feel like –32°C (about –25°F) around the time I’ll be headed home. It’s encouraging. No matter how ridiculous that may seem, the ends really do justify the means.