Discover how to interpret heart rate zones, find your maximum heart rate, manually customize zones, and more with the latest watchOS 9 and iOS 16 updates.

The latest advancements in watchOS 9 and iOS 16 bring a valuable health and fitness feature to Apple Watch and iPhone users – the ability to monitor heart rate zones. These zones’ significance, determining maximum heart rate, manually adjusting zones, and accessing comprehensive data are among the key highlights.

In watchOS 9, Apple Watch and iPhone utilize the heart rate reserve method to generate five heart rate zones automatically. Each month, on the first day, the maximum and residual values are automatically updated.

Apple says heart rate zones are personalized and calculated based on health data. On Apple Watch, these zones are visually represented by five segments, indicating levels of effort ranging from light to intense. Users can optimize their workouts, enhance effectiveness, and strive for continuous fitness improvement by tracking heart rate zones.

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We previously shared that Apple is Developing an Activity-Tracking App to Monitor Personal Health.

Here’s how to access heart rate zones on Apple Watch and iPhone:

Viewing heart rate zones during exercise:

Ensure your Apple Watch is running watchOS 9 and input your date of birth in the Health app on your iPhone. Swipe down on the initial “Workout” screen during a workout to observe your heart rate and the corresponding zone.

Apple Watch and iPhone Introduce Heart Rate Zone Feature for Enhanced Health and Fitness Monitoring

Reviewing heart rate zones after a workout:

Once the Workout is completed, navigate to the Fitness app on your iPhone to examine heart rate zone data. Select a workout from the primary Summary screen or tap the rings or “Show More” to choose a different date or Workout. Upon selecting an activity, swipe down to view heart rate details and tap “Show More” for a comprehensive breakdown of time spent in each heart rate zone.

Apple Watch and iPhone Introduce Heart Rate Zone Feature for Enhanced Health and Fitness Monitoring

Manually customizing heart rate zones:

While heart rate zones are automatically assigned based on age, height, and weight, experienced athletes can manually adjust them. Go to Settings > Workout > Heart Rate Zones on your Apple Watch and select “Manual.” Alternatively, access the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, navigate to Workout> Heart Rate Zones, and choose “Manual.”

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Determining maximum heart rate:

It is essential to prioritize safety by avoiding excessive heart rate levels. To identify your recommended maximum heart rate:

On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > Workout > Heart Rate Zones and scroll down to locate your maximum heart rate. Alternatively, access the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, go to Workout> Heart Rate Zones, and swipe down to find your maximum heart rate.

Understanding heart rate zones:

Heart rate zones offer valuable insights into various aspects of fitness. Critical applications include monitoring heart rate during rest, pushing oneself during workouts, targeting specific fat or carbohydrate-burning zones, and informing individuals with health conditions.

Although the Apple Watch does not explicitly display the five heart rate zones, the Cleveland Clinic provides a valuable article on calorie burn rates in different zones, serving as a helpful reference point.

To apply the calculations below, utilize your maximum heart rate:

  1. Low-intensity zone: Training with a heart rate of 50% to 60% of your maximum. In this zone, approximately 85% of calories burned come from fats. Generally, exercising at a lower intensity burns fewer calories but can be sustained for longer durations.
  2. Moderate zone: Exercising with a heart rate of 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Around 65% of calories burned in this zone are derived from fats.
  3. Aerobic zone: Engaging in workouts at a heart rate of 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. Approximately 45% of calories burned in this zone are from fats, while the overall calorie burn is higher than in other zones. Typically, this zone is maintained for a shorter period.
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Personal trainer Erin Carr explains that heart rate training focuses on strengthening the aerobic system while avoiding excessive strain on the skeletal and muscular systems.

By leveraging the heart rate zone feature, Apple Watch, and iPhone users can optimize their fitness routines, tailor workouts to specific goals, and monitor progress effectively. Stay motivated and achieve your fitness objectives with these powerful tools.


Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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