While some of the additions are tailored to specific types of athletes — namely runners and swimmers — others are more inclusive and impact Apple Fitness+. In 2020, the company launched Fitness+ as a subscription service for people who enjoy working out with Apple devices. It is characterized by its guided workouts that connect an Apple Watch to another Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Users can view statistics on these other devices and track their progress, providing an immersive workout experience. With watchOS 9, the Fitness+ user interface takes in even more data from the Apple Watch and creates a more interactive guided workout session.

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Apple Fitness+ is getting a slew of new features in watchOS 9 to improve the guided workout experience, starting with how users can view a guided session. Previously, users could only cast a Fitness+ workout to an Apple TV. However, with watchOS 9, it will be possible to stream a guided exercise on Fitness+ with any AirPlay-enabled display. While on the guided workout, there are added metrics and instructions that can adapt to the data collected by an Apple Watch. In high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, the watch can detect the effort being exerted and direct the wearer to put more or less effort into a given part of the workout. Additionally, the Fitness+ interface can now instruct users to increase or decrease the treadmill’s incline, the number of strokes per minute of a rowing machine, or the revolutions per minute on a cycling machine.

Running & Swimming Features Added To WatchOS 9

Apple Fitness+ Time to Run

The Apple Watch is a powerful tool for runners to gain insight into their progress. A handful of new metrics will be added in watchOS 9 update, making the smartwatch even better. For example, it will be able to detect vertical oscillation, which is an advanced metric that can significantly improve form. Vertical oscillation is when the torso moves while running, and an extreme amount of movement results in unnecessary exertion and worse performance. With each step, it can also measure ground contact time with the latest software to tell runners whether they are staying on the ground for too long. It’ll also measure stride length, which is vital for runners, but the ideal stride length varies from person to person. Having a professional analyze and interpret this data can ensure that it is applied correctly to an individual. In addition, users can customize the activity screen to show these data fields mid-workout to make this information easily viewed.

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Swimmers also get some new features, including the ability to detect when an external aid is being used for the workout. The upcoming software release will include Kickboard Detection, which senses when a kickboard is being used and adjusts other metrics accordingly. It also features SWOLF scores — a stroke count combined with the time it takes to swim one length of the pool — that can measure a swimmer’s progress over time. For bi or triathletes, the Workout app can now automatically detect the switch from running to swimming or vice versa. The Apple Watch has always been centered around fitness and health, but it is becoming a fundamental tool for serious athletes with the upcoming release of watchOS 9.