Walking is an accessible form of exercise for most people, and it’s a natural de-stresser too, helping us to let go of our worries and blow off some steam. In an attempt to help us enjoy regular walking workouts, Apple has launched a new Fitness+ feature called Time To Walk. It’s the latest addition to Apple’s new subscription-based online fitness program (opens in new tab) for Apple Watch, and comprises a series of ‘personal stories’ from famous faces including country legend Dolly Parton, and NBA star Draymond Green.
The stories are unscripted, giving you the feeling that you really are taking a stroll with Dolly as she chats to you about her abundant Tennessee farm. Once you start listening, the Apple Watch, one of the world’s best fitness trackers (opens in new tab), automatically begins tracking your steps. There’s an adapted Time To Walk feature for wheelchair (opens in new tab) users too.
Apple’s Time To Walk series has launched with four personal stories, ranging in length from 25 to 39 minutes - actress Uzo Aduba is the chattiest so far. According to Apple, each episode ‘is shaped by the guest’s personal, life-shaping moments and includes lessons learned, meaningful memories, thoughts on purpose and gratitude, and other thought-provoking topics, recorded while walking outside or in locations that are meaningful to them.’
Why Apple’s Time To Walk will appeal to bedtime story fans
While we know there are plentiful mental health benefits of walking (opens in new tab) outdoors, there’s nothing stopping you from firing up a Time To Walk episode while strolling indoors too, using one of the best treadmills (opens in new tab) for a proper walking workout.
About the new Fitness+ feature, Dolly Parton told Apple, “I think it’s so important to be able to get out and walk if we can during this time. I do my best thinking when I walk. And while many of us feel confined during this time, I’m hopeful that people will take a walk down memory lane with me and we can all feel a little more freedom taking the time to walk together.”
In his personal story, basketball star Draymond Green reflects on the virtues of failure, making it a particularly inspirational episode for anyone who feels stuck or afraid to follow their dreams. “There’s nothing better than a walk in nature, getting lost in my thoughts, and taking a deep breath of fresh air… I hope sharing my stories with those who go on a walk with me will give them the same drive to chase their dreams that I had in chasing mine.”
If you’ve ever fired up the Calm meditation app (opens in new tab) to listen to one of its Bedtime Stories for adults, read by a host of celebs including Harry Styles and Kate Winslet, the format of the Time To Walk episodes will feel familiar. They each have a strong storytelling element, and are as relaxing as they are motivating.
How to use Apple’s Time To Walk feature
The Time To Walk feature is now live on Apple Fitness+ and is easy to use. If you already have a Fitness+ subscription (see below), new episodes are automatically downloaded to the Apple Watch and will appear in the Workout app each Monday until the end of April 2021. You can also view episodes in the Fitness+ tab in the Fitness app on the Apple iPhone. If you use a wheelchair, you may prefer to use Time to Walk or Push, choosing between a ‘walking workout or a wheelchair pushing workout’.
To access a new episode, just select it in the Workout app. Once the episode begins, a Walking Workout will automatically launch on your iOs device to start tracking your steps, active minutes, heart rate and other metrics collected by Apple’s smartwatch (opens in new tab).
You’ll also see photos pop up on your Apple Watch while the episode is playing, which, admittedly, we would find distracting while out on a walk, but the playlist section is fun. This is when each Time To Walk guest introduces a selection of songs that motivate and inspire them, and are a way for you to continue your walk afterwards.
An Apple Fitness+ subscription costs $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year. Right now you can sign up to a free three-month trial (opens in new tab), with Fitness+ available for download on Apple Watch Series 3 or later that has been updated to watchOS 7.2. It can also be accessed via iPhone 6s or later if the device has been updated to iOS 14.3. If you enjoy walking but want a cheaper device, read our guide to the best Amazon Prime Day Fitbit deals (opens in new tab) instead.