We all know the Apple Watch is a powerful tool for fitness—whether that’s tracking workout metrics more efficiently, measuring your blood oxygen levels, or achieving all sorts of fitness goals. And today’s iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 updates just made it that much more powerful. What’s included in the updates is a more accurate measure of overall fitness and health: cardiorespiratory fitness.
What is cardiorespiratory fitness?
Cardiorespiratory fitness is measured through VO2 max, and is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise. The Apple Watch is already able to measure higher levels of VO2 max during rigorous exercise, but with the update, it is now able to use multiple sensors, including the optical heart sensor, GPS, and the accelerometer, to estimate lower levels as well.
Why does this matter?
We hear you: why is this important? Direct measurement of VO2 max was previously only available through clinical testing, but the Apple Watch is now able to do this accurately from your wrist. Being able to track your cardio fitness level is also beneficial, as low cardio fitness has been found to be related to a higher risk of significant health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, later in life.
“Cardio fitness is increasingly recognised as a powerful predictor of overall health,” said Jeff Williams, 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.”
So if you want a more accurate gauge of your fitness levels, update your iOS and watchOS today, and head to the Health app to set up the Cardio Fitness Levels feature and turn on cardio fitness notifications.