About workout types

Learn about the workouts that you can use to track your exercise with the Workout app on your Apple Watch. 

Walking

Choose Indoor Walk for walking on a treadmill or for when you're walking indoors, like on an indoor track or in a mall. To improve the accuracy of pace and distance for Indoor Walk, first accumulate at least 20 minutes of outdoor walking using the Workout app to calibrate your watch. For Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, you need to bring your iPhone along for calibration.

Choose Outdoor Walk for activities like walking on a track or in the park. Depending on your Apple Watch, you might need to bring your iPhone with you to track certain metrics:

  • Pace and distance: Apple Watch Series 2 or later has built-in GPS to track these metrics and provide a map of your walk in the workout summary on your iPhone. For Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, bring your iPhone along for GPS. If you want to leave your iPhone behind with Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, you can still track pace and distance for your workout. To improve the accuracy of these metrics, first bring your iPhone along and accumulate at least 20 minutes of outdoor walking using the Workout app to calibrate your watch. 
  • Elevation: Apple Watch Series 3 or later has a built-in altimeter to track this metric. For Apple Watch Series 2 or earlier, bring your iPhone along to track your elevation.

Learn how to calibrate your Apple Watch.

Running

Choose Indoor Run for running on a treadmill or any time that you're running indoors. To improve the accuracy of pace and distance for Indoor Run, first accumulate at least 20 minutes of outdoor running using the Workout app to calibrate your watch. For Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, you need to bring your iPhone along for calibration.

Choose Outdoor Run for activities like running on a track, trail, or road. Depending on your Apple Watch, you might need to bring your iPhone with you to track certain metrics:

  • Pace and distance: Apple Watch Series 2 or later has built-in GPS to track these metrics and provide a map of your outdoor run in the workout summary on your iPhone. For Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, bring your iPhone along for GPS. If you want to leave your iPhone behind with Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, you can still track pace and distance for your workout. To improve the accuracy of these metrics, first bring your iPhone along and accumulate at least 20 minutes of outdoor walking using the Workout app to calibrate your watch.
  • Elevation: Apple Watch Series 3 or later has a built-in altimeter to track this metric. For Apple Watch Series 2 or earlier, bring your iPhone along to track your elevation. 

Learn how to calibrate your Apple Watch.

Cycling

Choose Indoor Cycle for activities like taking a spin class or riding a stationary bike. Choose Outdoor Cycle for riding a bicycle outside.

Depending on your Apple Watch, you might need to bring your iPhone with you to track certain metrics:

  • Speed and distance: Apple Watch Series 2 or later has built-in GPS to track these metrics and provide a map of your outdoor cycle in the workout summary on your iPhone. For Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, bring your iPhone along to track your speed and distance. 
  • Elevation: Apple Watch Series 3 or later has a built-in altimeter to track this metric. For Apple Watch Series 2 or earlier, bring your iPhone along to track your elevation.

Elliptical

Choose Elliptical when you use an elliptical machine or do a similar activity.

Rower

Choose Rower when you use a rowing machine or do a similar activity.

Stair stepper

Choose Stair Stepper when you use a stair stepper machine.

High intensity interval training (HIIT)

Choose HIIT for cycles of intense exercise, followed by shorter periods of rest or recovery. For example, you might jump rope for 45 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat. 

Some of the irregular movements in HIIT workouts might prevent a heart rate measurement. If heart rate isn't available, calories are still tracked using the built-in accelerometer. If you're not able to get a consistent heart rate during HIIT workouts, you can connect your Apple Watch to a Bluetooth chest strap.

Hiking

Choose Hiking to track pace, distance, elevation gain, and calories burned. You can see how high you’ve climbed in real time during the workout, and total elevation gain at the end of your workout.

Apple Watch Series 3 or later has a built-in altimeter to calculate and display your elevation, so you don't need to bring your iPhone along when you work out. For Apple Watch Series 2 or earlier, bring your iPhone along to track your elevation.

Yoga

Choose Yoga to track all types of yoga sessions from restorative to power vinyasa flow.

Swimming

With Apple Watch Series 2 or later, you can choose Pool Swim or Open Water Swim. When the workout starts, the screen automatically locks to prevent accidental taps from water droplets. 

Here's how to end your workout and unlock the screen:

  1. Press the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time to pause your workout.
  2. Dry your screen. If the screen's wet, the water might cause accidental taps.
  3. Turn the Digital Crown to unlock the screen and clear any water from your Apple Watch. Your watch makes a sound, and you might feel water on your wrist.
  4. Swipe right and tap End.

Here's how your Apple Watch measures each workout: 

  • Pool Swim: When you start a workout, be sure to accurately set the pool length to help your Apple Watch measure laps and distance. GPS isn't used during a Pool Swim, and water might prevent a heart-rate measurement, but calories, laps, and distance will still be tracked using the built-in accelerometer.
  • Open Water Swim: GPS will only provide distance when you do a freestyle stroke. Water might prevent a heart-rate measurement, but calories will still be tracked using the built-in accelerometer.

Cellular coverage on cellular models of Apple Watch might be impacted during Pool Swim and Open Water Swim workouts.

Wheelchair

If you're a manual wheelchair user, you have the option to choose Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace or Outdoor Wheelchair Run Pace. You should pick the one that best describes your activity, but you don’t have to maintain a steady pace and you can mix speeds in either one. Choosing one for workouts done at or about a walking speed and the other for workouts done at or about a running speed will help you keep track of your workouts in the Activity app.

Here's how your Apple Watch measures your activity:

  • Apple Watch Series 2 or later optimizes tracking for outdoor wheelchair-pushing workouts at a walk and run pace. This watch also has built-in GPS, so you don’t need to bring your iPhone along.
  • Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier optimizes tracking for outdoor wheelchair-pushing workouts at a walk and run pace. Bring your iPhone along to see pace and distance.
  • Both wheelchair workouts measure time, pace, distance, calories, and heart rate. To measure time, calories, and heart rate for workouts like hand cycling and wheelchair basketball, choose Other.
  • Both wheelchair workouts track pushes in the Activity app.

If you don't see these workout options, you might need to update your information:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Health.
  3. Tap Edit, then tap Wheelchair and choose Yes. 
  4. Tap Done. 

Other

Choose Other when you can't find a matching workout type. When you use Other, you earn the calorie or kilojoule equivalent of a brisk walk anytime sensor readings are unavailable.

At the end of an Other workout, you can choose a name for your workout from a list of options. This can help categorize different types of activity, like dance, strength training, or cross training.

  1. Start a workout and choose Other.
  2. When you’re done, swipe right, then tap End.
  3. Tap Name Workout.
  4. Tap the type of workout, then tap Save. 

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