Apple is hosting a special Apple Watch Activity Challenge in an attempt to commemorate Veterans Day on November 11, in the United States.  If you’re an Apple Watch owner, you can earn a special badge and iMessage sticker for the event.  In order to earn the award, all you need to do is complete an 11-minute workout on Veterans Day.  This will work by accumulating time through the Workout app or any third-party app that adds workouts to the HealthKit database.  If you live in a different country, however, you won’t be able to participate as it’s only available to users in the United States.  This challenge will start appearing for users on November 9.  But you can only get the reward by doing the workout on the 11th.

The reward is an iMessage sticker and a medal.  The medal looks like a 3-D version of the iMessage sticker.  If you’re in the US, eleven minutes will do the trick.  11 minutes seems like it’s not a lot, but this could help get people moving.

The challenges through the Activity app are designed to get you to improve your health and fitness.  For example, you are rewarded an achievement the first time you do a cycling workout out, or the first time you do a rowing workout.  These are pretty simple, but you can get better achievements as you progress.  For example – if you workout for 7 days straight, of at least 15 minutes or longer, you will get an achievement badge.  Does this actually encourage people to work out more?

apple watch activity

Yes and no.  There are a few achievements in there that I am really excited about, but I also struggle to achieve them.  As someone who has a hard time being motivated, these aren’t necessarily going to give me the push I need.  But I am also a stickler for rules and structure so achieving any of the harder achievements gives me great satisfaction.  That being said – is 11 minutes long enough?  Which I questioned before, but I’m questioning it again.

I also wonder if this is in anyway disrespectful to Veterans Day?  I used to work in retail, and we were not allowed to put up Christmas decorations or play Christmas music until after November 11.  And what does this kind of activity achievement have to do with Veterans Day anyway?  Apple does offer these achievements for other special occasions, and in general, I think it’s a good way to promote health and wellness, but I’m not sure that Veterans Day is the most appropriate holiday to celebrate this way.

In my opinion, Veterans Day should be a time when we reflect on our lives.  Maybe you disagree, but we need to acknowledge what soldiers and military personnel have done for us over the years.  Whether that was 100 years ago, during World War 1, 70-some years ago during World War 2, or what the current troops are doing overseas right now.  Maybe this Activity Challenge is a reminder of that?  I don’t necessarily see it that way.  Nor do I think Apple is being disrespectful or malicious intentionally, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.  I want Apple to encourage health and wellness in other ways, but I’m not really sure that this is the way to do it.