watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 Add Cardio Fitness Notifications

Today's watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 updates introduce a new cardio fitness feature that's designed to let users determine their cardio fitness level and receive notifications on the Apple Watch if it falls into a low range.

watchos 7 cardio fitness 1
Apple says that "breakthrough technology" in watchOS 7 lets the Apple Watch determine cardiorespiratory fitness as measured by VO2 max. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body is able to use during exercise, and it can be improved through physical activity.

Prior to now the Apple Watch was already able to estimate higher levels of VO2 max during outdoor walks, runs, or hikes, but by taking advantage of all of the sensors in the Apple Watch, in watchOS 7.2 it's now possible for the watch to take cardio fitness measurements as users walk throughout the day, regardless of whether they're tracking a workout.

"Cardio fitness is increasingly recognized 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."

This functionality lets Apple Watch better measure VO2 Max for users who don't often do high-intensity workouts. In a press release announcing the new feature, Apple says that a 2016 study from the American Heart Association recognized a link between low cardio fitness and higher risk of significant health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

watchos 7 cardio fitness 2
Cardio Fitness is available as a new category in the Health app on iPhone, and fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low relative to people in your same age group and of the same sex. Users can also track how their cardio fitness levels have changed over the past week, month, or year, and if fitness levels fall into the low range, they can get a notification on Apple Watch that includes guidance on improving it.

Related Roundup: watchOS 8

Top Rated Comments

ArtOfWarfare Avatar
11 months ago
Is this for all Apple Watches that can run watchOS 7, or is it only for some of them?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
11 months ago

Is this for all Apple Watches that can run watchOS 7, or is it only for some of them?
my assumption is for all watchOS 7 watches - have not seen/read anything to the contrary ...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StuBeck Avatar
11 months ago
Does this improve from earlier versions of watch os 7? I ran the beta OS all summer and went from barely being able to run for 5 minutes to running a 10k in November. It said there was zero change in my vo2 max. I'm sure something changed durng that time period.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JM Avatar
11 months ago
Yo, if this works as advertised, then this is awesome for people who work all day and want to make sure they're being active enough to be "healthy"!

That's me. I work all day and worry if I'm being active enough. Me. I want to be healthy.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imola.zhp Avatar
11 months ago

Is this for all Apple Watches that can run watchOS 7, or is it only for some of them?
In the notes for the update on my Apple Watch Series 4 it notes this as an added feature. I figured it would only be for Series 6, crossing fingers it is true.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yellowbean12 Avatar
11 months ago
This will be interesting for me as a cyclist. I do a lot of cardio exercise with my watch but because almost none of it is walking or running, my VO2 readings are very few and far between.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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