With today’s Apple update to iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2, Apple Watch will allow you to check your cardio fitness level relative to people in your same age group and of the same sex in the Health app on iPhone, so it can be categorized in one of four ranges: high, above average, below average, or low.
Cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by VO2 max, is widely recognized as a powerful predictor of overall health. The Apple Watch has allowed users you to estimate it right on their wrist (since the Apple Watch Series 3) without having to visit a lab to complete a rigorous test with specialized equipment, as has been required in the past.
What is Cardiorespiratory Fitness?
“VO2 max is a measurement of your cardio fitness level, and an important one to discuss because it’s a powerful predictor of your overall health that summarizes how well your body is using oxygen. The really special thing about VO2 max is that you can actually do something about it. And the key to that is in exercising more, and in increasing your intensity, you’ll actually see an improvement” says Dr. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s Vice President of Health.
So what’s the update about?
While the Apple Watch has been able to measure VO2 max levels since the Apple Watch Series 3, they will now be able to measure them at lower levels. Considering VO2 max was always used to measure fitness levels of athletes and people who enjoy more intense walks, runs or hikes, now being able to measure it at lower levels, allows the Apple Watch to give notifications to more sedentary users and inform them of their fitness levels. Hopefully this motivates some of us to get off the couch?
Dr. Desai also added “The ability to measure something for some people can be really motivating, to see how it changes. In that way, cardio fitness can be a really useful measure for everyone, not necessarily only someone who runs marathons. That’s what we’re excited about, that we’re democratizing the ability to use VO2 max, not just for the elite athlete, but for the everyday athlete.”
How to check your Cardiorespiratory Fitness?
For a glance at your VO2 max levels, you can check your Activity app on your iPhone or jump into the Health app and click on Activity for a more detailed analysis.
Is this feature going to be useful for you? Let us know in the comments below.