​Apple Watch gets new cardio fitness features, as it a brings VO2 Max to the masses

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Apple has revamped its Apple Watch fitness metrics, with its all-new cardio fitness notifications.

The feature has launched as part of watchOS 7.2, and will alert users if their cardio fitness – based on VO2 Max – and will be found in the Apple Health app.

VO2 Max has been part of the Apple Watch in watchOS 7, and appears as a metric in the Fitness app – as well as Apple Health.

Cardio fitness expands the idea of VO2 Max, applying it to more people at lower fitness ranges.

For the uninitiated, VO2 Max is one of the purest assessments of your fitness.

VO2 Max refers to the amount of oxygen transferred into the blood – the more you transfer the fitter you are. While this can only be tested in lab conditions, many wearables can estimate the figure, and VO2 Max is a fixture of high-end Garmin sports watches.

However, it’s usually gleaned from GPS-tracked running activities, so you have to be pretty active to get a score.

But Apple has developed the idea even further, and is bringing the metric to those at the other end of the fitness scale.

Now on the Apple Watch, Cardio fitness can be estimated at lower VO2 Max ranges, bringing the assessment to people starting out with fitness, or using it as a powerful motivator.

Cardio fitness is an opt-in metric, so there’s an on-boarding process with your age, weight, height for it to accurately estimate your VO2 Max.

Once opted in users will be notified on the Apple Watch if they’re deemed to have dangerously low Cardio Fitness. That warning won’t be shown again for a four-month period.

To get this data for those who aren’t busy working out, VO2 Max is calculated in the background when you wear the Apple Watch outside.

It will use motion sensors to detect movement and will use the GPS in the background to get an idea of how fast you’re travelling, augmenting the data with your heart rate and the personal stats you outlined during the onboarding.

It’s a clever system, and it’s great to see VO2 Max being used as a Cardio assessment for people at lower fitness levels. We’ll be trying it out in the coming days.

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