watchOS 7.2 slaps on all inclusive Apple Watch cardio fitness feature

Apple has released watchOS 7.2 into the wild. The software refresh expands Apple Watch cardio fitness feature, adds support for Apple Fitness+ and more.

You can view the full change-log on this link. The most interesting part of the upgrade is the revamp of Apple Watch health metrics.


watchOS 7.2 – what’s new?

Cardio fitness level

To remind, the timepiece has already had Vo2Max measurements. For those not in the know, this is an indicator of your fitness level.

A high Vo2Max may not increase your lifespan, but it will most likely add many more healthy years to your life. The metric is a measurement of how well your body uses oxygen when you’re working out at your hardest, i.e. the higher your VO2 Max, the more fit you are.

Apple is expanding on the idea of Vo2 Max to include people at lower fitness levels. Typically, the metric is measured by assessing your intensity, heart rate and more during vigorous exercise with GPS switched on. This may be a problem for people just starting out or those who are very much out of shape.

watchos 72 slaps on new apple watch cardio fitness features - watchOS 7.2 slaps on all inclusive Apple Watch cardio fitness feature

Apple’s Cardio Fitness Level is a more inclusive metric. Instead of doing an intensive run, users will be able to take a walk or a stroll to find out their VO2 Max. The GPS will work in the background to better estimate this value. They’ll then be able to review your cardio fitness level based on their age, sex, weight, height and any medications they might be taking, via the Health app on iPhone. The fitness level will be based relative to their age group.

Essential reading: Tracking Vo2Max with wearables – why it is important.

Users will also have the option to be notified when their cardio fitness is at at very low levels. The hope is that this will get them to take action. So that this doesn’t demotivate them, they’ll only be shown a low value once every four months.

How to set up Cardio Fitness level on your Apple Watch?

The setup process is quite simple. Open the health app and tap the Browse tab. Search for Cardio Fitness.

Once found, choose the “Set-up” option. Then its just a matter of entering your vitals information along with any medication you may be taking. You’ll also be provided with the option to opt into the low cardio fitness level notifications.


Apple Fitness+ support and more

Support for the much publicised Apple Fitness+ is also part of the software refresh. While you can use the fitness service without an Apple Watch, it is much better with it as you’ll be able to view your heart rate and more on the big display of your TV, iPad or iPhone.

Video workouts will be added each week. For now, the service is only available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and the US.

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Other changes as part of watchOS7 include a classification of atrial fibrillation at heart rates above 100 BPM. This will be offered in the ECG app in most regions where the app is available. ECG measurements also come for the first time to users in Taiwan. Finally support for braille displays is included and there are the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

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