Apple Watches: The Rule of the Rings
Do Apple Watches cross the boundary of a healthy lifestyle, to a toxic obsessiveness of fitness?
By Kendra Clark
Photo by fancycrave1 on Pixabay
After being years late to the trend, a few months ago I finally caved in and bought an Apple Watch. As a person who certainly does not prioritise fitness apart from the daily dog walk, I could never really justify spending that much money when my phone does the same things. Despite my always wanting one, it just didn’t seem that rational.
Anyway, clearly one day I woke up and decided to toss the rational argument out the window and I spent $249 (I was in the US at the time) on an Apple Watch SE. I picked out a red and pink band to go with my new gold watch and left the apple store with a friend who had just purchased one alongside me, feeling out of pocket, jumpy with how much money I had just spent, and cursing the judgemental voice in my head telling me I had just been scammed to spend $249 on something that technically, I already have with my phone. Nevertheless, we ripped open our boxes to strap on our watches with excitement, only to find that of course they weren’t charged up. So we delayed our ring closing goals for just one more day.
Fast forward a few months later to now, I can safely say that I do not regret purchasing my Apple Watch… but there are days when I do swear I will rip it off and slam it against the wall if it tells me to stand up one more time.
Recently, I was sitting with some friends who also own Apple Watches and we started talking about them. We discussed how they motivated us but also made us feel guilty when we didn’t act on this motivation. One of the things that bother me most about Apple watches is that they don’t give you an option for a rest day. For example, some days I work from 10-5 and don’t really feel like doing much after except for studying, and other days I just simply don’t want to exercise, which is completely valid… but not to Apple. Whilst I completely understand that I do actually have the ability to just not wear my watch for one day or turn off the reminders to get up and move, leaving my house without my watch now kind of feels like leaving without my phone. Yes, I could do it, but will I? No.
However, as I said before, I am no fitness guru but I have recently started swimming two or three days a week, and my watch definitely encourages me to go, not only by the constant reminders telling me to get up and move but also by letting me record my workout and see how many metres I swim, calories I burn and by comparing it to my previous workouts. So, in a more positive light, my watch definitely does motivate me to workout which in turn, makes me feel more accomplished with my day. Although it does bother me that I usually have to do two workouts a day to fill my rings (which I believe is Apple's way of politely telling me that I need to work out harder). However, unfortunately, University, work, and even a slight social life take up a huge chunk of my time, so filling my rings doesn’t really make my list of priorities.
A few of my Apple Watch owner friends also said that they weren’t that disappointed when they didn’t fill their rings on a usual day. However, if they were having a bad day and they then saw that they didn’t complete their rings, it definitely made them feel worse than how they were already feeling. Furthermore, two of my friends even admitted to changing the goals on their Apple Watch just so the rings were filled every day. I have heard about doing this on social media, but to me, this definitely feels like crossing that boundary of obsession over fitness.
So for now, I am happy with only filling my rings two or three times a week (if that), and whilst I know that it's easy to compare yourself to others, as Apple even has the option to add your friends to see how much they work out, just because you don’t have the time, energy or motivation to consistently fill up your rings every day, doesn’t mean you have failed. If anything it means you’re winning at not allowing technology and unrealistic goals to rule your life, because, at the end of the day, they are just colourful circles on your wrist and not much more. And I can promise you that in 20 years' time, you will not look back and curse yourself for not filling your rings every day.