The one Apple Watch feature you should activate now for your health

Apple Watch 6
(Image credit: Future)

With the latest launch of watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 on Apple Watch and iPhone, Apple introduced a new Cardio Fitness feature that allows you to monitor your health in a more informative way. 

If you’re thinking that it’s just another setting that indicates your pulse throughout your workout - you’re terribly mistaken. Cardio Fitness acts as an indicator of your overall physical health. It can even predict your long-term health and suggest ways you can improve it.

Following the latest update, Apple Watch users are now able to view their cardio fitness level and will receive a notification if it dips into a low range. 

According to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, estimating low cardio fitness levels will enable its users to “have more insight into how they can improve their long-term health through daily activity.” 

The American Heart Association has also stated that in some cases, consistently low cardio fitness levels may eventually lead to bigger health risks, including but not limited to heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.  

Apple’s Cardio Fitness will now classify users as having “high,” “above average,” “below average,” or “low” cardio fitness levels. 

Cardio Fitness on iPhone and Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch Cardio Fitness: How does it work?

The new Cardio Fitness feature tracks users through a metric called VO2 max, which estimates the maximum amount of oxygen that your body consumes. The latest update will now allow users to estimate VO2 max not only while performing a high-intensity workout but also while simply walking around.

With watchOS 7, those who have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later will be able to get a direct measurement of their VO2 max score. It's a feature that's been available on numerous other fitness trackers and sports watches, so it's good to see VO2 Max on the Apple Watch.

Cardio Fitness on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

How to set up Cardio Fitness on Apple Watch

  1. First and foremost, make sure that both your iPhone and Apple Watch are updated to iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2, otherwise, you won’t be able to access the feature.
  2. Open the Apple Health app on your iPhone and tap “Browse” then “Heart.” 
  3. Under Cardio Fitness Levels you should see a blue Set Up button.
  4. Follow the steps and fill in your health details.
  5. Turn on “Low Cardio Fitness Notifications” to receive alerts on your Apple Watch.
  6. You should now be able to see Cardio Fitness set up in the Health app.
Denise Primbet
News Writer

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen.