To credit progress towards your Exercise goal, the Activity app aims to identify activity that equals or exceeds the intensity of a brisk walk. This requirement applies both during general daily wear and when recording workouts via the Workout app.
Exercise credit is awarded for each minute during which this requirement is met. It is possible that you are not meeting that requirement and/or that your activity is not being tracked accurately (perhaps including due to holding dog leads).
The definition of a brisk walk varies from person to person and depends on your personal information. To check that this is accurate - and to update it over time:
On your iPhone, in the Watch app, go to: My Watch (tab) > Health > Edit - tap and adjust items, then tap on Done.
When recording specific fitness activities, be sure to use the Workout app (or a third-party app that shares data to Health) and to choose the activity type that most closely matches your workout, including choosing Outdoor Walk when appropriate and Other for any workouts that are neither included within nor sufficiently similar to those in the main list. This enables your watch to use the most appropriate sensors and data sources when tracking results.
For example, with Apple Watch (first generation) and Series 1 models, the watch can access Location Services data from the paired iPhone if it is taken along during outdoor walking, running and cycling workouts. Series 2 and Series 3 models have built-in GPS.
For more accurate tracking of outdoor workouts and to enable proper calibration, check your Location Services settings:
On your iPhone, go to: Settings > Privacy > Location Services:
- Check that Location Services (the main setting at the top) is turned on.
- Enable options under System Services including Motion Calibration & Distance, Wi-Fi Networking and Mobile Network Search.
During general daily wear and when using the Workout app to record relevant workouts (ie where arm motion is involved) when GPS data is either not relevant or not available, the Activity app and Workout app track your arm motion (measured by the accelerometer) when estimating results including progress towards the Exercise goal.
For the best results, allow the arm on which you are wearing your watch to swing naturally as you move around during daily wear and to move as expected during workouts.
If it is not convenient or possible to swing your arm (perhaps due to holding dog leads, for example), then it may help to take your iPhone with you and to still track your walks using the Workout app on your watch, choosing Outdoor Walk as the activity type. When Location Services are enabled on your iPhone, your Apple Watch can use GPS data from the iPhone to estimate your pace and distance covered. However, Exercise credit will still only be awarded by the Activity app when your activity is at least equivalent to a brisk walk.
Resetting your existing calibration data and recalibrating your Apple Watch can improve the accuracy of estimations made by Activity app and Workout app. More information and instructions are available via the link below. Resetting your calibration data will not erase your Activity history:
Calibrating your Apple Watch for improved Workout and Activity accuracy - Apple Support
For the best performance from your Apple Watch - including the most accurate readings from the heart rate sensor, which is used continually during workouts - be sure to wear your Apple Watch snugly (but not too tightly) during general daily wear and during any workouts. Apple suggests tightening your Apple Watch band before workouts and loosening it again afterwards:
Wearing your Apple Watch - Apple Support
If you would prefer to receive Exercise credit for the full duration of workouts, regardless of their estimated intensity levels, then track them via the Workout app using "Other" as the activity type. This will credit one minute of Exercise for each full minute of the workout. Active calories will be estimated at a rate equivalent to a brisk walk or based on data recorded by the heart rate sensor, whichever is higher. However, note that neither distance nor a route map are recorded for outdoor workouts under this workout activity type.
Use the Activity app on your Apple Watch - Apple Support
Work out with your Apple Watch - Apple Support
Get the most accurate measurements using your Apple Watch