Why It's 'Time to Walk' With Your Apple Watch

Better than podcasts?

Key Takeaways

  • Time to Walk appears to be a new feature coming in iOS 14.4.
  • New workouts are delivered automatically to your Apple Watch.
  • Guided walking workouts use augmented reality to help get more out of your walks.
Incoming call, BPM, and Workout dance goal on Apple Watch
Apple

Apple Fitness+ is pretty great if you’re happy working out in front of a screen, but what if you want to take things outside? In iOS 14.4, apparently you can.

Though there hasn't yet been an official announcement, Time to Walk appears to be a beta Apple Watch feature that, though not yet live, will be able to grab audio tracks, then offer you guided audio workouts. These could be power walks, regular walks, or runs. 

“Walking is an excellent form of cardio if you do it with intensity and intention,” John Thornhill, a master trainer at Aaptiv, told Well+Good

Time to Walk

First shared by Khaos Tian on Twitter, Time to Walk automatically downloads new workouts to your Apple Watch when it’s connected to power and near your iPhone. This is how software updates and podcasts are added to the watch, and it means that you always have a fresh workout ready to go. Based on the name, it would seem that Time to Walk reminders would pop up at intervals, much like the existing Time to Stand reminders.

What’s the Point?

We could speculate all day about the format these workouts will take. Will they use music? Offer guided walking instructions? We don’t know. But we can talk about the efficacy of guided walking workouts. 

“If you’re talking about interval workouts, there are only so many ways you could structure such a running session,” Reps & Sets app developer Graham Bower told Lifewire via direct message. “You definitely don’t need new workouts each week.”

The one big advantage of walking is that almost anyone can do it. You don’t need special gear, a gym, or a running track. You can just go out and walk. Pedometer apps, which use your watch or phone to count your steps, help to motivate you through minimum daily step goals, but they count a saunter the same as they count a jog. 

Guided Walking

Guided walking workouts combine the accessibility of walking with the training advantages of or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). “A casual stroll in the neighborhood may not make you sweat or spike your heart rate, but if you incorporate HIIT into your walking routine, you can get more out of it,” says Thornhill.

How might this fit into the Time to Walk feature? It could be as simple as a series of instructions to speed up and slow down while you walk. The Apple Watch knows where you are, and how fast you are moving, so switching to a new audio clip telling you to speed up when you reach a hill, for example, would be technically straightforward.

However Time to Walk works out, there’s always a great alternative to keep you company during walks: podcasts. Free, plentiful, and automatically delivered, podcasts are just about the best walking companion around. Apart from a dog.

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