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How to set up and track Apple Watch wheelchair workouts

People in wheelchairs no longer get treated like second-class citizens when it comes to Apple Watch’s fitness-tracking features. With the recent watchOS 3.0 update, which brings lots of big changes to the fitness-oriented wearable, Apple Watch wheelchair workouts can be tracked after a quick and easy setup.

Part of Apple’s wide-ranging accessibility initiative, these new Apple Watch features make it possible to track wheelchair exercise just like you would a typical run.

Apple Watch’s wheelchair mode puts people with physical disabilities on a level playing field with other athletes — and it’s super-easy to use.

Here’s how to get started with Apple Watch wheelchair exercises.

Engage Apple Watch wheelchair mode

Before you can properly start to track workouts, you’ll need to change some settings on Apple Watch so it knows to use a different algorithm for workouts. Once you’ve switched it to wheelchair mode once, you won’t need to do it again. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Health.
  3. Tap Edit, then tap Wheelchair and choose Yes.
  4. Tap Done.

Track Apple Watch wheelchair workouts

For now there are only two wheelchair-specific workouts you can do outdoors: Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace and Outdoor Wheelchair Run Pace.

To start a workout do the following:

  1. Open the Exercise app on Apple Watch
  2. Scroll down the wheelchair exercises.
  3. Tap Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace or Outdoor Wheelchair Run Pace.
  4. Set your goal.
  5. Start spinning.

If you have the original Apple Watch, you will need to bring your iPhone along in order for GPS to track pace and distance. Bringing your iPhone will also improve your calorie credit. Apple Watch Series 2 owners can leave their iPhone at home because it has built-in GPS.

Apple Watch wheelchair workouts
Updates to Apple Watch software make it possible to track wheelchair workouts.
Image: Apple
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