In a 2016 scientific statement
, the American Heart Association recognized a growing link between low cardio fitness and a higher risk of significant health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, later in life. Research even suggests cardio fitness is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than common risk factors like smoking, diabetes, and hypertension.
“Cardio fitness is increasingly recognized as a powerful predictor of overall health, and with today’s update to watchOS 7, we are making it even more accessible to more people,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Using its advanced sensors, Apple Watch now brings estimation of low cardio fitness levels from clinics directly to a user’s wrist, so people have more insight into how they can improve their long-term health through daily activity.”
“American Heart Association science associates low cardiorespiratory fitness levels with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The American Heart Association is focused on helping all people equitably achieve longer, healthier lives, and we believe that emerging technology solutions can empower individuals to manage their own health,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO.
Today iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 enable Apple Watch users to visit the Cardio Fitness category in the Health app on iPhone to review whether their cardio fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low, relative to people in their same age group and of the same sex, according to data from the Fitness Registry and Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND
). They can also see how their cardio fitness level has changed over the past week, month, or year. If a user’s level falls within the low range, they can receive a notification on Apple Watch, along with guidance on improving it over time and having a conversation with their doctor.
Apple Watch users can visit the Health app on iPhone to set up the Cardio Fitness Levels feature and turn on cardio fitness notifications.