I did an Apple Fitness+ walking workout and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it—here's how you can try it for free

Looking for an alternative way to boost your daily step count? Try this freebie from Apple

Fit&Well fitness writer Harry Bullmore trying the Time To Walk feature on Apple Fitness+
(Image credit: Future / Harry Bullmore)

I didn't think I'd start my year strutting through the country to a soundtrack of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack, but here we are. 

This came about after my editor asked me to try the Time To Walk feature on Apple Fitness+—a feature which, as of January 8, iPhone users can sample for free via the Podcasts app

The concept is simple: Famous folks go for a walk while recording a chat about their lives and playing a few of their favorite songs. You get to listen along at a later date while getting in some steps of your own.  

As someone who loves high-intensity exercise, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this walking workout, but I actually got a lot out of my 39-minute stroll with Marvel star Simu Liu. Here's everything I noticed during my mini-hike. 

1. I covered a lot of ground

I'm a fast walker by nature, but I was still surprised at how high my step count was after the walk. I managed to rack up 4,500 steps in the short session. My phone also estimated that I'd climbed 10 floors and covered 3.5km.

My Whoop band let me know I'd raised my heart rate too, estimating my calorie burn at 297 (the Apple Fitness+ app went for a more conservative 160). 

I maintained this quick pace despite there being nothing to encourage me to move any faster, other than the sound of Liu's footsteps. 

2. It was genuinely interesting

When choosing a podcast, I like to find a topic I care about and listen to the experts. The Time to Walk feature doesn't offer you this luxury. Instead you have to scroll through a list of celebrities and hope you land on one who can hold your attention.

Luckily, Simu Liu has lived an incredibly interesting life. He was raised by his grandparents until he was four, when his parents returned to whisk him from China to Canada. He worked as an accountant before seeking out acting gigs on Craigslist, including a bizarre-sounding turn in Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim, where he was asked to strip down to his boxers to be painted blue. 

Time flew by when I was listening to these anecdotes. I can't speak for the other Time To Walk episodes, but I would definitely give Liu's a listen if you get the chance.  

3. I checked my phone less

I don't usually do walking workouts, but I do have an energetic two-year old dog who needs regular exercise. I've noticed during our thrice-daily excursions that I often forget to look at my surroundings and start scrolling my phone.

Focusing on Simu Liu's talk meant that I didn't need a screen to entertain me. Instead, I took in my surroundings and listened to his story. By the end of the walk, my eyes and mind felt refreshed, and I felt re-energized.

I also enjoyed listening to the music selection that was thrown in at the end of the session; SexyBack by Justin Timberlake, Ghost by Justin Bieber and My Time by Fabolous. Simu provided a little background on why he selected them, before they were played in full, which was a nice way to round off the session. 

Close up on phone showing Time to Walk episode with Simu Liu

(Image credit: Future)

If you're in need of some suitable shoes to keep you comfortable on longer strolls, take a look at our editor-tested roundup of the best walking shoes

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.