New from watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 Since watchOS 7.2, the Apple Watch has support for cardio fitness levels, also known as VO 2 max. The health function can monitor your cardio fitness by measuring the amount of oxygen that your body can process during an activity, if this is too low you can received notification.
The cardio fitness is a good addition to the Apple Watch and ensures that you can monitor your health properly. For cardio fitness levels, you don’t have an Apple Watch Series 6 or later, all models with watchOS 7.2 or later can use this feature.
What are Cardio Fitness Levels?
Your cardio fitness is a measure of your VO 2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can process during an activity. A higher VO 2 max indicates a higher level of cardio fitness and endurance. The values depend on age and gender, the older you get, the lower the cardio fitness level is.
Apple Watch provides an estimated value
Measuring VO 2 max normally requires a strenuous physical test and special equipment. This cannot yet be processed in a compact device such as an Apple Watch. Still, Apple has found a reliable way to estimate your cardio fitness. Based on the heart rate and movement data, an estimated VO 2 max between 14 and 60 mL / kg / min can be recorded. For this, the heart rate and activity are continuously measured during a brisk walk or running workout.
Enable Cardio Fitness for Apple Watch
Make sure your Apple Watch is updated to watchOS 7.2 or later and your iPhone to iOS 14.3 or later.
- Open the Health app
- Tap Data at the bottom
- Navigate to Heart or Breathing
- Search for and open Cardio Fitness
- Scroll down and choose ‘Configure’ at ‘cardio fitness levels’
- Follow the steps on the screen
- Confirm your details and activate the function
Enable cardiovascular fitness notifications
When activating the cardio fitness, you can immediately enable the cardio fitness notifications. If you haven’t done this, you can do this via the Apple Watch app ▸ My Watch ▸ Heart ▸ Enable the option ‘Cardio fitness notifications’. When the VO 2 max is too low, you will be notified by means of a notification.
View VO2max data
- Open the Health app
- Navigate to ‘Heart’ or ‘Breathing’
- Tap ‘Cardio Fitness’
- View the VO 2 max results
An overview of all registered data is displayed. It is good to know that this is an estimate. This can only be measured when you complete a brisk walk or running workout that continuously measured heart rate. In the health app, you can immediately see whether the values are too low, medium, or high.