With lockdown sweeping most of Australia at the moment, getting out of the house for some exercise isn’t just a healthy option but something of a necessity. But with gyms closed and restrictions concerning the distance travelled from home now in place, many are now taking to a lockdown project that involves lacing up those forgotten sneakers and shuffling the feet around the block. Whether you’re training for your next marathon or simply looking to get those steps in, under the current circumstances it’s safe to say motivation can be lacking at the best of times. Thankfully, Apple Fitness+ is here to provide some relief, offering a range of audio-guided walking programs featuring celebrity voices. Now, this feature is taking an Olympic edge with the addition of Kurt Fearnley’s ‘Time to Walk or Push’ program.
If you aren’t familiar with Kurt Fearnley, know that he is one of Australia’s most successful and respected athletes. At a time where there remains much to be done for improving the accessibility of those living with disability, Fearnley has long been an advocate of changing public perceptions of disability in all areas of life, be it the workplace or sports. Through sharing his own story and those of others, Fearnley has championed the removal of barriers in all areas of life when it comes to disability, including those pertaining to accessibility, discrimination, unconscious bias and prejudice. If all that wasn’t enough, he also happens to be a three-time Paralympic gold medalist, with two Commonwealth Games gold medals to his name, and has completed more than 40 marathons, including the likes of New York and London.
We might not be able to meet up with friends for a walk under current restrictions, but Apple’s “Time to Walk” series on Fitness+ allows you to at least feel like you’re with friends, if those friends in question are some of the world’s biggest celebrities and sporting stars. In a statement, Apple’s senior director of Fitness Technologies, Jay Blahnik, explained: “Walking is the most popular physical activity in the world, and one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies.” Blahnik adds, “A walk can often be more than just exercise: It can help clear the mind, solve a problem, or welcome a new perspective.”
Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Aussie icon and wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley has teamed up with Apple for a recorded 39-minute segment. “When I go out and take a push, it’s like going for a walk, you know,” says Fearnley in the episode. “I’m in my day chair right now. The day chair is a separate wheelchair, it’s the thing you think of as your walking leg.”
Fearnley continues, “And for somebody that’s never been in a chair, it’s just a stroll. It’s out here to enjoy the environment, to look around and just have a moment for yourself.”
The addition of Fearnley to the service is one worth celebration and comes after Apple has added wheelchair exercise to its Fitness app, with support for a “Roll” goal replacing the “Stand” goal to get you moving every hour. Fitness tracking can be engaged with either a Walk Pace or Run Pace for using a wheelchair outdoors.
Fearley’s episode is now live on Apple Fitness+ for all subscribers. It joins a growing list of audio-guided episodes, including the likes of Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua and marathon runner and gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.