Apple recently released iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 updates for its devices. These have added new ways to measure your health. While iOS 14.3 brings Fitness+, the watchOS 7.2 has introduced new ways to measure cardio fitness level. Now, Apple users can view their cardio fitness level in the iPhone Health App. Moreover, the Watch will warn users if their cardio fitness level falls to a low range. For the unaware, Apple briefly mentioned this feature in September when it revealed the Apple Watch Series 6. Now, it is going live for Apple users.
Apple Watch users can now view how their cardio fitness level is classified based on their age group and sex in the Health app on iPhone, and receive a notification if it falls within the low range. The Apple Watch can already measure cardiorespiratory fitness through VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise, and it can be increased through physical activity. The wearable already estimates average and higher levels of VO2 max during vigorous outdoor walks, runs, or hikes, which many runners and other athletes monitor to improve performance.
Now, the Apple Watch uses multiple sensors, including the optical heart sensor, GPS, and the accelerometer, to estimate lower levels. As Apple mentions, this is a significant development since direct measurement of VO2 max typically requires a rigorous clinical test with specialized equipment that is not readily accessible to most people. In contrast, watchOS 7 allows the wearable to take cardio fitness measurements as users walk throughout the day, whether or not they are tracking a workout.
“Cardio fitness is increasingly recognised as a powerful predictor of overall health, and with today’s update to watchOS 7, we are making it even more accessible to more people,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Using its advanced sensors, Apple Watch now brings estimation of low cardio fitness levels from clinics directly to a user’s wrist, so people have more insight into how they can improve their long-term health through daily activity.”
Users’ cardio fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low in the Cardio Fitness category in the Health app on iPhone. If a user’s level falls within the low range, they can receive a notification on Apple Watch. Moreover, they’ll get guidance on improving it over time and having a conversation with their doctor.