Health and fitness wearable maker Garmin is upgrading its line of Forerunner smartwatches with additional features in a free software update. The update is now available for download in the Garmin Connect app for the Forerunner 245, 745 and 945.
The first of the new features bring over the VO2 Max capabilities from Garmin’s Enduro smartwatch. Garmin’s VO2 Max tracking gives users insights into their cardiovascular fitness and is designed to be used during trail runs.
Users can now record their rate of perceived exertion, which lets them track how hard their workout felt in the Garmin Connect app. This feature is also available for the Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 45S.
The software update also improves intensity-minute tracking for these wearables to allow users to see when their activity minutes were earned during the day.
Updates specific to the Forerunner 245 series include daily workout suggestions that are based on training history, fitness level and recovery time.
Additional updates are available for the Forerunner 745 and Forerunner 945 as well, including sleep metrics by Firstbeat Analytics, a rest timer when using ultrarun activity tracking, animated on-screen workouts downloadable from Garmin Connect and improvements to the watches’ fitness age estimations.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Garmin markets its Forerunner smartwatch line to athletes who are looking to stay active and elevate their performance.
Wearables like these can help athletes understand their physiological status and sharpen their mental alertness, leading to a reduced risk of injury, improved performance and advanced development of training regiments, according to NPJ Digital Medicine.
These benefits and more can be translated to the everyday user as well, with about one in five U.S. adults saying they regularly wear a smartwatch or wearable fitness tracker, according to the Pew Research Center.
THE LARGER TREND
So far this year, Garmin has launched several new smartwatches, including one for beginner runners, one for those with an active lifestyle and one that was “designed by women, for women.”
There’s no shortage of competition in the world of wearables. Apple recently updated its smartwatch with respiratory rate metrics and a mindfulness app that combines breathing techniques with personal reflection.
Earlier this year, Fitbit rolled out a new smartwatch designed to be stylish enough to double as a piece of jewelry.
Amazon’s wearable Halo recently added a new feature designed to help users understand their functional fitness, dubbed Movement Health.
Last fall, fitness wearable Whoop reached unicorn status with its $1.2 billion valuation. There’s also Withings, which has a smartwatch with ECG and Sp02 sensors.