Apple in watchOS 7 and iOS 14.3 added a new cardio fitness feature that lets Apple Watch owners keep track of their cardio fitness levels through VO2 max measurements. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can use during exercise, and it can be improved through physical activity.

watchos 7 cardio fitness 1
Prior to watchOS 7.2, the Apple Watch was only able to estimate higher levels of VO2 max with outdoor walks, runs, or hikes, but now it can also take cardio fitness measurements as users walk throughout the day, allowing those who don't engage in vigorous exercise to see their cardio fitness levels.

Apple measures cardio fitness levels as high, above average, below average, or low relative to people in your same age group and of the same sex, and it needs to be set up in the Health app on iPhone. Here's how:

  1. Open the Health app.
  2. Tap the Browse tab at the bottom.
  3. Search for Cardio Fitness. cardio fitness levels setup
  4. Scroll down to Cardio Fitness Levels.
  5. Tap on "Set Up."
  6. Confirm your health details and enter medications you take that might affect heart rate like beta blockers. cardio fitness level confirm detail
  7. Tap through to learn about Cardio Fitness.
  8. Tap "Turn on Notifications" if you want to receive notifications when your cardio fitness level is low. Otherwise, tap "Not Now." cardio fitnessl level notification
  9. Tap "Done."

That's all there is to it. From there, the Apple Watch will take cardio fitness measurements during outdoor runs or walks, with the info then aggregated inside the Health app. If cardio fitness levels fall too low and notifications are enabled, the Apple Watch will send notifications with suggestions on how to improve it.

cardio fitness level details
Apple says that there are multiple factors that can lower cardio fitness levels including age, pregnancy, chronic lung conditions, heart conditions, medications, and illness or injury, which is something to be aware of.

Aerobic exercise that causes the heart rate to rise and makes you breathe hard will give you the biggest boost to cardio fitness. Apple recommends running, cycling, or high-intensity interval training, but says even just adding a few hills to a daily walk helps.

Related Roundups: watchOS 10, watchOS 11
Related Forums: iOS 14, Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

john991 Avatar
47 months ago

What’s your cardio level? Post your age also!
VO₂: 41.5 – age: 58
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randyhudson Avatar
47 months ago

What’s your cardio level? Post your age also!
VO₂:49 – age: 45
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
totom_ Avatar
47 months ago

What’s your cardio level? Post your age also!
41.7, age 24. I am shocked. I go to the gym 6x a week and am really trained. I weigh 73kg (161lbs) with little fat. It's either because I barely do cardio, eat a lot of sodium, sleep only around 6h a night (a lot to study and work), or get wasted 2-3 times a week.......

In hindsight, maybe the cardio fitness level makes sense ??
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
totom_ Avatar
47 months ago

AW takes your pulse throughout the day. Not sure if it’s continuous, but it’s close to that.

I have the HR min/max chart as one of my complications on my watch face. Like this one..


May I ask how you managed to set heart rate up to show like this? For me it looks like this:



EDIT: Nevermind, I found it. It's Infographic Modular.

Attachment Image
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SergZzz Avatar
47 months ago
What’s your cardio level? Post your age also!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
47 months ago

I accidentally missed the part where you add the medications in. I take a beta blocker. Does anyone know if you can go through the process again and add them in?
On your phone, go to the Watch app, Health, Health Details, Edit. It’s near the bottom.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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