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Device: Apple Watch (Series 3)
OS: Watch OS 4.3

What is measured differently between the two workouts? Don't both detect movement by GPS coordinates? Based on movement + age, height, weight, heart-rate it should be able to compute calories burned. Right?

So why do we have two different workouts? Apple workout apps page doesn't provide the answer.

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Based on movement + age, height, weight, heart-rate it should be able to compute calories burned. Right?

Not to a great deal of accuracy. A fit person's heart will tend to beat slower than an unfit person's heart even if they're the same age, weight and height.

Knowing your stride length will improve the accuracy. The page mentions calibration. The walking calibration may be kept separate from the running calibration.

  • Agreed that fitness level modulates heart-rate. But watch knows my resting heart rate. So the calories I burn should be function of how much higher my heart rate is above my resting heart rate. Also stride length while running is not a constant. Tends to get longer as we get tired. All that said yes, getting more data points improves accuracy. But still not fully convinced it is worth having two different workouts. I should probably try the same outdoor activity once as a walk and then as a run. Then compare the data ;-) – Sri Sankaran Apr 27 '18 at 17:26
  • @SriSankaran Stride length while running or walking is not a constant. The calibration should try to work out the mean distance for each, and produce a different mean for each activity. The calories you burn are a function of how much mechanical energy you use. While there may be an association between the mechanical energy used and heart rate even the current best algorithms based on HR data alone aren't as accurate as a power meter or foot pod. A sudden fright raising your heart rate does not equate to the same amount of calories burned as exercise leading to the same rise in heart rate. – Scottmeup Apr 27 '18 at 19:02

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