There is another fitness feature coming to the Apple Watch. The watchOS 7.2, available from December 14, will let users review their “cardio fitness level” and even get alerts when it falls into the low range. The cardio fitness level, measured by VO2 max which the Apple Watch has been tracking for some time now, is considered a powerful predictor of overall health.
The levels are shown relative to people of the same sex and age group and will be categorised as high, above average, below average, or low. It is measured of a period of time and will not be influenced by standalone events or health conditions of the users.
People who are active, like athletes, usually have a high cardio fitness level. The levels are usually measured by lab tests with specialised equipments.
Dr Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of Health, said VO2 max is an “important one to discuss because it’s a powerful predictor of your overall health that summarises how well your body is using oxygen”. She explained: ”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.”
In fact, when the Apple Watch gives a low level alert to the user, it will also suggest ways to improve it and recommend a visit to the doctor. “We really believe people should be able to actively manage their wellbeing using their iPhone and Apple Watch, while keeping that information completely private and only visible to them. In this way, you are using our devices to really partner with you in your health,” Dr Desai added.
With watchOS 7, the Apple Watch can measure an expanded range of cardio fitness right through the day. Before watchOS 7, the Apple Watch could measure only average to higher levels of VO2 max, that too when users where on an intense outdoor walk, run or hike.
The new feature is critical as a lot of people who have issues with low cardio fitness levels are those who do not workout regularly.