Want to use your Apple Watch on a treadmill? Check out our guide on How Accurate is Apple Watch on Treadmill to know if it’s a good idea.
Apple has a huge emphasis on making the Apple Watch the only wearable device you’ll need. And so along with awesome smartwatch features, the Apple Watch can also record body metrics and gather fitness and activity data.
With Apple Watch hailed as one of the best if not the best smartwatch, it is expected to be accurate when it comes to tracking activity data. But this is not the case always, because many things affect the accuracy of tracking data depending on the workout and conditions.
This article will explain if the Apple Watch is accurate when it comes to gathering data when a user runs on a treadmill. Check out how accurate is Apple Watch on treadmill is and if it’s a good option to use for the same.
Smartwatches like the Apple Watch over time have gotten more accurate when it comes to tracking runs thanks to accelerometers and GPS data. But how accurate is the Apple Watch if you strip off its GPS ability?
Learn about how accurate is Apple Watch on treadmill and everything related to it in this article.
While GPS data works for outdoor runs, it cant be used if you are running on a treadmill. This means the Apple Watch has to rely only on data from the accelerometer to track running distance, speed, and other metrics.
Since accelerometers are fairly primitive and are easily influenced by motion and direction change, the data collected from them is not so accurate. Accelerometers are primarily used to detect motion and aid in collecting data. Fully depending on them for tracking data is not a good idea.
When you run on a treadmill with your Apple watch, you will find that the total distance you ran and the distance tracked by the Apple Watch is very different. And this is a flaw in most fitness trackers and smartwatches, without GPS data, it is hard for them to track and calculate running data.
Now that you know how accurate is apple watch on treadmill, let us see if there is a way to make it better.
Even though there’s not much you can do with the hardware you are dealing with, you can still improve the accuracy of your Apple Watch when you use it on a treadmill.
You can improve the accuracy of an Apple Watch by calibrating it. Calibrating an Apple Watch is the process of training it to make it more accurate to your walking and running pace.
Once you calibrate your Apple Watch, the data will be used as a reference for your future walks and runs. Calibrating an Apple Watch is an important process, as you need to get the most accurate readings.
So if you calibrate your Apple Watch and for example, when calibrating you ran 5 km in 45 mins, then your Apple Warch will use this data for your future runs and walks. It will also calculate your calories, heart rate, and other metrics to create baseline data for your fitness and health condition.
This is why calibration can improve accuracy, it allows your Apple Watch to work with more data which in turn allows it to track better.
So calibrating your Apple Watch should be a no-brainer, as it lets your Apple Watch track and collects data better. But how do you do this for a treadmill? It is similar to the normal calibration of your Apple Watch but with some small changes.
For this to work, you need to turn on Motion Calibration & Distance on your Apple Watch, you can do this by,
Step 1 Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
Step 2 Tap on Privacy, then tap on Location Services.
Step 3 Scroll down and then tap on System Services.
Step 4 In hare, make sure that Motion Calibration & Distance is turned on. If now, turn it on.
Now that Motion Calibration & Distance is turned on, you can calibrate your Apple Watch for treadmills. To calibrate your Apple Watch for use on a Treadmill, do the following,
Step 1 Wear your Apple Watch and open the Workout app on it.
Step 2 Start an indoor run/walk depending on whether you are going to walk or run on the treadmill. Now tap the three horizontal dots before starting to set a goal.
Step 3 Start the workout and run on your treadmill for at least 20 minutes. This is plenty of time for your Apple Watch to gather all the data it needs.
Step 4 Once you have completed walking or running on your treadmill for 20 mins, your Apple Watch will be calibrated to track your treadmill workouts much more accurately than before.
Now you can use your Apple Watch to track your treadmill workouts. You will notice that the Foot Pad offers more accurate data but your Apple Watch’s data is useable now. Also when calibrating, remember to move your arms naturally.
Most running apps including the official Workout from Apple Watch aren’t developed primarily for outdoor running, and this means they work poorly for treadmill workouts. But some apps work better than most when it comes to treadmill running/walking.
Here are the best treadmill apps for Apple Watch,
Nike Run Club – Nike Run Club is not only an amazing treadmill app, but it is also one of the best running apps for the Apple Watch. It allows users to track running and walking sessions on treadmills.
The app also features challenges audio-guided runs, coaching plans, allows users to set running intervals, and more.
Runkeeper – Runkeeper is one of the most popular running apps out there. It works well on the iPhone, it works well on the Apple Watch and it works well for treadmill workouts too.
The app works without your iPhone, it is great for tracking runs both outdoors and indoors. It is fairly accurate and has features like intervals making it a good app for treadmills.
Aaptiv – Treadmill workouts can be tedious and Aaptiv is an app that tries to make things interesting. The Aaptiv app for Apple Watch has many cool features like 2500 music-driven trainer-led workout sessions, set running goals, and more.
It is easily one of the best apps for treadmill workouts on the Apple Watch.
The above are some of the best apps you can download and use on your Apple Watch if you want to track your treadmill workouts. These apps are also great for normal running and walking.
I have been telling you that the tracking data measured by your Apple Watch for treadmill walk/run is not accurate while the data from the treadmill itself is more accurate.
How does the treadmill offer more accurate distance data? Treadmill calculate distance ran/walked by counting the number of rotations the belt does. This makes it almost inch-perfect for accuracy as the length of the belt is fixed and the number of rotations can be easily measured.
Apple Watch has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to tracking distance run/walked using GPS data. Unfortunately, this trick doesn’t work with treadmills as the user is running/walking in the same place. Without GPS data, the Apple watch is not accurate when it comes to calculating the distance traveled.
So, when it comes to treadmill workout-tracking accuracy, then the data from Treadmills are hard to beat.
Calibrating your Apple Watch can improve accuracy but it won’t be perfect. This doesn’t mean using Apple Watch for treadmill workouts is a waste, as you can use the Apple Watch to monitor your body metrics and other details. It is not perfect, but it is still one of the best solutions in a wearable form.
Can I calibrate my Apple Watch on a treadmill – How to do it?
Yes, using a treadmill to calibrate your Apple Watch is possible. This differs from calibrating it outside, where you have the benefit of GPS tracking, which increases the tracking’s accuracy significantly above indoor treadmill running. There are some adjustments, while most of the steps remain the same.
On your iPhone
Step 1 Go to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on Privacy
Step 2 Search for Location Services and tap on it
Step 3 Once there, Search for System Services and tap on it
Step 4 Turn on “Motion Calibration and Distance”
On your Apple Watch using a Treadmill
Step 1 Get on the treadmill wearing your Apple Watch
Step 2 Before starting the exercise, open the workout app and start the indoor run or indoor walk.
Step 3 Tap on the three horizontal dots icon and you can start running or walking
Step 4 Keep running or walking for 20 minutes. This is the threshold time Apple Watch takes to collect enough data to use it as a calibration point or reference level for other workouts
Step 5 After 20 minutes of running or walking, your Apple Watch is calibrated for your treadmill workout (run or walk)
Is the treadmill or Apple Watch more accurate for calories burned?
Your Apple Watch may be far more precise than your treadmill even though none of them accurately estimates the calories burned. Apple Watches have a tonne of sensors that monitor and record your body’s numerous physiological activities.
The Apple Watch will measure your heart rate, skin temperature, and movement much more precisely than a standard treadmill if you have entered all of your medical information, including medical history, body measurements, macro proportions, and exercise routine.
The high-tech sensors used to measure the body’s vital signs and statistics are not present in stationary exercise bikes, ellipticals, or treadmills. The majority of them cannot be altered based on user data or medical history. They only employ a mathematical procedure that takes into account factors like age, height, weight, elevation, and distance traveled.
So, measuring calories burned on an Apple Watch should be more precise. If your Apple Watch is calibrated with your treadmill, this case might be more convincing.
How to reset your calibration data
You can always start over by wiping your data if you’re not satisfied with how your Apple Watch is tracking your exercises.
Step 1 Open the Watch app.
Step 2 Select the My Watch tab in the bottom left-hand corner.
Step 3 Scroll down and select Privacy
Step 4 Tap Reset Fitness Calibration Data.
While the Apple Watch is awesome at almost everything it does, it still has some flaws. It is easily one of the best smartwatches, thanks to top-notch build quality, excellent software, and tracking features.
Apple Watch features some of the best sensors for tracking activities and health metrics but they are not good when it comes to tracking treadmill data. And the main reason for this is the lack of GPS data.
So the answer to the question of how accurate is Apple Watch on Treadmill is that not great. But you can still salvage some acceptable tracking data if you calibrate your Apple Watch. So try that and see if you can use your Apple Watch for treadmill workout sessions.