Apple Activity and customizability

Is it just me, or is it weird that Apple’s Activity forces priorities upon users?

The Stand goal frankly just isn’t that important to me. I understand the arguments, for sure, but I’d prefer to have Mindfulness there instead! I imagine I’m not alone in having other health priorities—diet, water, etc.—all seem like they could be more important than Stand, Move, and Exercise for some people. And with all of the data available in Health, it seems like letting users choose three would be easily implemented.

Is it too much to hope that a future edition of Activity will change this, or is looking for a different health tracking paradigm the only route to an alternative?

As I said, I understand the argument. All of these goals are obviously good for you, but the question isn’t “is this healthy?”, it’s “what’s most healthy for me?”

I stand often enough as it is; I’d like my health tech to help me go beyond that.

As for the WHO link: got a reference? I’d be surprised if the WHO had a global catch all-statement saying that these three behaviours are the most important for everybody—beyond diet, sleep, hand washing… and from my own searching there’s no such basis for these goals in particular.

In fact, Elizabeth Lopatto interviewed Jay Blahnik, director of fitness and health at Apple, when the Series 3 came out. From that article, which is a great treatise on these issues and an argument for customizability:

Some of the Watch’s goals are just judgment calls, Blahnik says. There’s no science that suggests you need to stand up for a minute an hour for 12 hours a day, but that reminder is the kind of thing likely to make a user reflect on how sedentary he or she is. Did you stand this hour? Did you move?

FYI there’s a nice interview with Blahnik a few years back in OUTSIDE, which gives a fuller picture of what Apple was aiming for.

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That was an interesting interview (albeit mostly focused on the athletics end of health). Thanks!

It also makes it clear that the Activity goals are a design choice by Apple, not something rooted in any particular paradigm. So I will keep hoping that someday Apple will give us choice in Activity.

Some thinking about potential customizability in watchOS 7:

Hat-tip to John Voorhees at MacStories for linking to the post.