How Does Apple Health Calculate Resting Energy? | OptimistMinds (2023)

In this guide, we will discuss How does Apple Health calculate resting energy, what is the difference between resting energy and active energy, how to calculate resting energy with the formula and some additional considerations.

How does Apple Health calculate resting energy?

You may find useful knowing how Apple Health calculates resting energy if you use it for wellness and fitness purposes or if you are simply wanting to start using it soon. The Apple Watch uses information such as your age, weight, gender and height in addition to the GPS in your iPhone to calculate both resting calories and the calories you burn through exercise. The resting calories burned are also known as Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR, which will differ from one person to another.

Owning a smartwatch is important for some people, especially those who like to keep monitoring their health like me. For instance, I own a smartwatch, not precisely an Apple Watch but it has proven to be as effective. I wear it every day and I’m constantly checking the stats to see what changed, I do that automatically. I have noticed those times during the day when I am more active, having to walk somewhere or when I’m exercising that I see some peaks in my heart rate. I have also noticed when it is at its lowest and I often wondered what it meant, here we have the answer.

Resting energy vs Active Energy

For most people, resting calories are not as important as active calories, why? Because for many users, their interest is set on how many calories they have burned after a certain activity and also because the amount burned of resting calories is always lower.

The Apple Watch uses your basic information such as your age, gender, height and weight, in addition to the GPS in your phone and data from the sensors to calculate both the resting calories and active calories. This is why providing the data at the beginning of the initial set up is very important, so your Apple Watch reflects the most accurate information.

If you need to update the information, open the app on your phone and change the values by going into My Watch> Health section.

Finally, the resting calories are also known as Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR, which will vary from one person to the other so don’t try to compare it with someone else and expect to have the same exact amounts reflected. However, an average person requires around 1600 calories to keep their body functioning even if they did nothing at all during the day.

How to calculate resting calories

Here is the formula on how you could manually calculate resting calories for both men and women:

  • For women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
  • For men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

As indicates, “The Move ring in the Activity glance/app shows how many calories you’ve burned. You can swipe on the lower half of the screen during your workout to review elapsed time, average pace, distance covered, calories consumed and heart rate”.

Moreover, after completing your workout in the Workout out and via the Activity app on your phone, you will see a breakdown of the resting vs active calories burned. Additionally, it is important to consider that Apple Watch calculates calories burned differently for outdoor and indoor activities. For indoor activities, it calculates the calories only using your heart rate measurements and for outdoor, it uses the GPS to calculate the distance and pace.

Is the Apple Watch accurate?

As we have discussed, your Apple Watch uses your personal information to calculate the metrics resulting from your daily activities. For instance, if you have used your bicycle to go to work instead of taking a bus or if you have been to the gym for an hour during the morning before going to work then, you will see all the information related to these activities.

Subsequently, it is important to keep your information up to date in case you didn’t do this during the initial set up. Your Apple Watch uses this information to calculate and estimate the calories you have burned and more.

Earn Move and Exercise credit

I remember the first few days of using my smartwatch how obsessed I was with how the stats changed and were updated every day. As the days went by, I started to notice a trend on the days I did exercise vs those I didn’t get to do much. This is why it is important to earn a move and exercise credit but, how? Let us explain.

The Apple support team indicates that, for every full minute of movement that exceeds the intensity of a brisk walk, will count towards your daily Exercise and Move goals. For instance, to make sure you are earning Exercise credit while you take your dog out for a walk, allow the arm with your Apple Watch to swing naturally and freely while the other hand holds the leash.

Wrist detection

Make sure the wrist detection is on because if it happens to be off, you won’t get Stand notifications, and your Watch won’t track your Stand progress. Additionally, background heart rate readings won’t be recorded if Wrist Detection is off.

To check if Wrist detection is on or off, go to the settings, open the Apple Watch on your iPhone and tap the ‘My Watch’ tab. Then tap passcode and make sure the Wrist Detection is enabled.

Using ‘Activity’ to view your calories

Some smartwatches will count calories the same way but they will display it differently, which is the case of the Apple Watch. Your Apple Watch won’t tell you how many calories you have burned today but ‘Activity’ will. Initially, you’d think your watch doesn’t have this feature included, however, dig a little bit deeper into all the ‘hidden’ features and you’ll see that your Apple Watch does estimate calories.

Subsequently, go to ‘Activity’ and select the day of your interest. Then, swipe left on the Move field below the rings and there are the total calories burned for the day listed as ‘Total calories’ under ‘Active calories’.

Why is this blog about How does Apple Health calculate resting energy important?

As we have discussed how Apple Health calculates resting energy, we need to consider the difference between resting energy/resting calories and active energy/active calories. The resting energy and the calories reflected are the calories burned just for living, sort of speak. They are the calories that you burn due to natural processes such as breathing. Moreover, we have seen the formula on how to calculate resting calories if you would like to do the exercise manually.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Apple Health calculate resting energy

How is the resting energy calculated?

Resting energy or resting metabolic rate is calculated through equations as follows:

(RMR) kcal/day: (males) = 9.99 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 4.92 x age(years) + 5; (RMR) kcal/day: (females) = 9.99 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 4.92 x age (years) – 161.

How accurate is Apple Watch activity?

The accuracy of the Apple Watch has been a subject of debate along with the scientific community but this is not the only brand whose accuracy has been put to the test. For instance, in terms of calories, Stanford researchers tracked energy expenditure with the Apple Watch along with six other fitness trackers, and they found readings that deviated from their standard by up to 43 percent.

Why does my Apple Watch not count all my exercise minutes?

If your Apple Watch is not counting all your exercises in minutes, try the following steps: On your iPhone, in the Watch app, go to: My Watch > Privacy > Motion & Fitness – turn Fitness Tracking off. Restart both devices by turning both off together, then restarting your iPhone first. Return to the Fitness Tracking setting and re-enable it.

How does Apple calculate BMR?

Apple calculates BMR following the formula Active Calories = Total Calories – BMR. The active calories are additional calories you burn by doing exercise that you would not have burned if you were just resting. Therefore, Apple deducts your BMR from your Total Calories to calculate your Active Calories.

How many calories do you burn a day doing nothing?

Contrary to what people think, you are burning calories every day even if you are not doing anything, however, the calories you burn would be less than the ones you would burn if you did a regular physical activity. Moreover, the number of calories you burn increases according to body weight. So, a person who weighs 150 pounds might burn 46 calories an hour or between 322 and 414 calories a night.



Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Annamae Dooley

Last Updated: 11/15/2023

Views: 5688

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Annamae Dooley

Birthday: 2001-07-26

Address: 9687 Tambra Meadow, Bradleyhaven, TN 53219

Phone: +9316045904039

Job: Future Coordinator

Hobby: Archery, Couponing, Poi, Kite flying, Knitting, Rappelling, Baseball

Introduction: My name is Annamae Dooley, I am a witty, quaint, lovely, clever, rich, sparkling, powerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.