Apple Watch can now monitor your cardio fitness

Apple Watch can now monitor your cardio fitness
Cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by VO2 max, is a very important metric not only for people who are actively engaging in physical activity but for pretty much anyone. It shows the ability of the human body to utilize oxygen during exercise or high physical activity, and pretty much tells you if you’re in shape or not.

Now, with iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 Apple watch users can view their cardio fitness level in the Health app on iPhone, and receive a notification on Apple Watch if it falls within the low range. Apple watch already had the ability to measure VO2 max but with the latest update, Apple has included special algorithms that use multiple data sources - including the optical heart sensor, GPS, and the accelerometer - to estimate low VO2 max levels.

Normally, measuring VO2 max levels requires intensive and prolonged exercises, but with the new algorithms, Apple Watch can measure this metric during the day even if people don’t engage in a rigorous workout. That’s really important for people who don’t exercise much, as there’s a correlation between low VO2 max levels and various serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, later in life.

“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.”

“American Heart Association science associates low cardiorespiratory fitness levels with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The American Heart Association is focused on helping all people equitably achieve longer, healthier lives, and we believe that emerging technology solutions can empower individuals to manage their own health,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO.

Apple Watch users will now be able to track their cardio fitness level and review whether it’s classified as high, above average, below average, or low, relative to people in their same age group and of the same sex, according to data from the Fitness Registry and Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND). If there are reasons for concern, people will receive notifications and guidance on improving their cardio fitness over time and having a conversation with their doctor.
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