New cardio fitness features on Apple Watch

· 2 mins read

Apple has revamped its VO2 Max feature to offer its all-new cardio fitness notifications. Launched as part of watchOS 7.2, this feature will track users’ cardio fitness and will be found in the Apple Health app. VO2 Max is a metric in Apple Health and has been part of the Apple Watch in watchOS 7. For those unfamiliar with VO2 Max, it refers to the amount of oxygen transferred into the blood, if you transfer more, the more fitter you are.

Though accurate results are only possible in lab conditions, many wearables can provide an estimation. VO2 Max is found on high-end Garmin sports watches. The readings are dependent on GPS-tracked running activities, so in order to get a score, you have to be quite active. But now Apple is trying to offer scores for people at lower fitness ranges, meaning cardio fitness can be estimated at lower VO2 Max ranges. As it is an opt-in metric, you have to go through an on-boarding process where you feed in your age, weight, gender, height and confirm if you’re taking certain medications.

Once you provide all the relevant data, the Apple Watch can offer a better estimation of your VO2 Max. Once the users opt-in, they will be notified on their Apple Watch if they’re deemed to have dangerously low cardio fitness. Interestingly, once the notification is shown, it won’t appear for a four-month period, so it doesn’t become demotivating. In case you are not very active, VO2 Max is calculated in the background when you wear the Apple Watch outside.