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Apple Fitness+ adds new workouts and new celebrities for ‘time to walk’ exercises

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Apple Fitness+ launched last December and is the only one of Apple’s subscription service designed primarily for the Apple Watch, though you can play back the workouts on bigger screens, thankfully, such as an iPad or full-screen TV.

What sets it apart from most other fitness and workout apps is that because you’re wearing the Watch, it can measure your heart rate and put that live information on the tablet or TV.

Today, Apple has announced new features coming soon to the service, landing next Monday, 28 June.

Time To Walk was one of the best additions to Fitness+ when it landed in the Spring. It’s an audio workout, designed to be done when you’re walking and consists of someone famous talking about their life and choosing three songs.

If that reminds you of a cut-down Desert Island Discs, it is a bit like that (which is no bad thing). But there’s one unique aspect: both you and the guest are on a walk, which provides a special intimacy. Additionally, the audio is punctuated by images which appear on your Watch screen when the guest’s story demands it.

If there was a fault with Time To Walk, it’s that it ran out after 17 guests. These included director Jon M Chu, comedian and actor Wanda Sykes, as well as Nick Jonas, Anthony Ramos, Shawn Mendes, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda.

The good news just announced is that Time To Walk is back for a longer second season with 20 or so new walks. Apple has revealed that the guests will include actors such as Randall Park and Gina Rodriguez, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta, and a bunch of Brits: Naomi Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Stephen Fry.

That’s partly because this second season isn’t being made in the same locked-down situation as the first, allowing Apple to have a more international line-up.

Jay Blahnik, Apple’s Director of Fitness and Health technologies, said, “We’re bringing users a range of exciting new workout options, to inspire them to stay active and make fitness a consistent part of their lifestyle — whether that’s going for a walk with one of the amazing Time to Walk guests or pushing through a high energy HIIT class with Jeanette Jenkins.”

But there’s another advantage to this second season. Unlike the first season which was recorded in secret, the latest guests have been able to hear the first recordings and take inspiration from them. Apple suggests that the next series will be rich and eclectic but more universal. Apple recognizes that storytelling is a powerful way to inspire people.

There are other updates, too. First of all, fitness expert Jeanette Jenkins is the company’s first-ever guest trainer, and there’ll be seven workouts focusing on HIIT and Strength, which Apple says will be bubbling over with “Jeanette’s creativity, style and high-intensity combinations layered on top.” If that sounds too much, note that the format for the workout is the same as before, that is, other trainers will be in the room as well, performing modified versions of the exercises for those who want to follow them.

Turner’s arrival heralds a new direction for Fitness+ so it may be that other guests will follow.

Finally, since music is a key part of the success of Apple’s workouts, some of the resident trainers have opted to create sessions with the entire playlist coming from one musician. There will be four new workouts each week for four weeks where the music will be entirely supplied by one of the following: Alicia Keys, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez or Lady Gaga. The workouts will be across six different workout types including cycling, yoga and dance. Apple Music will also have playlists for each of the four artists to create a workout soundtrack for when you’re exercising without Apple Fitness+.

These updates are indications of Apple’s continued commitment to Fitness+. They’re interesting not just for what’s announced but for where they may lead, perhaps with more guest trainers and an increasing integration between Fitness+ and Apple Music.

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