How does Apple Health calculate calories burned?

In this brief guide we are going to answer the question “How does Apple Health calculate calories burned?” and also answer questions like “How does Apple Health calculate resting energy?” and provide you with information on much more.

How does Apple Health calculate calories burned?

The Apple Watch uses your personal information — such as your height, weight, gender and age to calculate how many calories you burn. It does so by first calculating the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). 

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BMR is the number of calories your body needs to function at rest. Calories burnt at BMR are due to internal body functions such as breathing, digestion and blood circulation etc. The energy you use at BMR becomes the resting energy that your Apple Watch then feeds to the Apple Health app.

Apart from BMR the Apple Watch also calculates your Active Metabolic Rate(AMR), which is the energy you use while exercising. Apple Watch uses your heart rate and movement to detect increases or decreases in activity to calculate active energy. It then feeds this information to the Health app so that you can view both your active and resting energy after a workout.

How does Apple Health calculate resting energy?

You may find it useful to know that Apple Health views your resting energy as well as your active energy. The Apple Watch uses information such as your age, weight, gender and height to calculate your BMR. The BMR essentially tells how many calories you burn at rest. 

It is important that you give accurate values for age, gender, height and weight so it can give a better number on your resting energy.

To update any values

1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone

2. Tap on My Watch and then select the Health section

3. Tap on edit to make any changes to previously given values

How can I view my calories burned during a workout?

For fitness enthusiasts, owning a smartwatch is a lot more than owning a cool gadget. For them, it is their personal health monitor. The Apple Watch tracks your step count, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and much more. 

The Apple Watch also measures your resting energy which is the number of calories you burn while completely at rest. The Apple Watch also calculates your active energy which is the calories you burn while walking, running or exercising.

After completing a workout you can view a breakdown of your active calories and resting calories in the Apple Health app.

1.     Tap on Summary to view your exercise activity

2.     Tap on Activity to view your daily activity stats

3.     Under Activity you will see two different types of energies: Active energy and Resting Energy. Tap on each to view how many calories you burned in each phase.

During a workout, the total number of calories you burn is the sum of active calories and resting calories viewed on your Health app as mentioned above.

Total calories = Active calories + Resting Calories

How Accurate Is Apple Watch Calorie Tracking?

This question can be asked and answered in two parts.

How accurate is BMR measurement?

Your BMR is a baseline for the number of calories you burn per hour. There are various mathematical formulas you can use to calculate BMR. They’re all based on some combination of your height, weight, gender and age.

That’s why Apple Watch asks for these details when you first set it up. Once the device knows your height, weight, gender and age, it can make an educated guess at your BMR.

The most common is the Harris Benedict Equation. The BMR calculation in the medical field is commonly used and is pretty accurate, and Apple uses industry-standard in calculating BMR.

How accurately does Apple measure the calories you burn? 

A study conducted in 2017 by Standford University found Apple watch to be the most reliable in its class of 60 other wearables in energy expenditure tracking. Apple proved to be one of the best in heart rate tracking and movement tracking.

A medical device, such as a calorimeter would be better at tracking calories burned, the Apple Watch is a great alternative for accuracy and ease of use in a compact, portable device. However, it is essential that your Watch is set up correctly to get the most precise calorie measurement.

You will want to make sure that your watch is not too loose to allow heart rate monitor to accurately track your heart rate. Make sure that when you exercise, you select the activity from the Workout app on you Apple Watch that most closely matches the exercise you are performing. This will measure your movements more accurately during the workout.

How to burn more calories using Apple Health?

Apple Health is a powerful tool that lets you log your daily activity level. If you are willing to make your routine more fit. Apple Watch has a range of workouts you can choose from to add to your daily routine.Knowing how much time you spend on an exercise and a quantitive analysis on the calories you burn can be a good motivator for you to keep up a good exercise regime and even up your numbers as you build your strength. 

During a workout, you burn more calories in the active energy region. These are the calories you burn in addition to your resting calories. This can be viewed in the Apple Health app by tapping on the Active Energy under Activities.

Both Active and Total Calories are displayed on the Apple Health app on your iPhone. By deducting the Active calories from your Total calories you can then find the BMR.

BMR= Total Calories – Active Calories

Conclusion

In this brief guide we answered the question “How does Apple Health calculate calories burned?” and also more questions like “How does Apple Health calculate resting energy?” and provided you with information on much more.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

References:

https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4426/7/2/3/htm

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