Apple Fitness+ updates give Apple Watch owners a fresh workout

Apple Fitness+

Guided meditation, Pilates and new workouts are coming to the Apple Fitness+ service, announced at Apple’s California Streaming event.

Acknowledging the COVID age, Apple’s fitness subscription service is also introducing Group Workouts with SharePlay. It allows users to work out with up to 32 people at once. They can start a Group Workout from a group message thread or FaceTime call on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV with AirPlay. 

During a Group Workout, users will see their metrics and progress toward closing their Activity rings, while also seeing and hearing friends as they work out.

Meditations builds on the popularity of Mindful Cooldowns. The latest Apple Fitness+ update offers a choice of nine guided Meditation themes: Purpose, Kindness, Gratitude, Awareness, Creativity, Wisdom, Calm, Focus and Resilience. Each practice is five, 10 or 20 minutes long, guided by Apple Fitness trainers.

Audio meditations

With the update to watchOS 8, the Breathe app becomes the Mindfulness app. It incorporates an enhanced Breathe experience, with guided Meditations and a new session type called Reflect.

In addition to the videos on an iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, the same meditations will be uploaded each week in audio form in the new Mindfulness app on the Apple Watch. These new audio meditations play directly from an Apple Watch when paired with AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones. 

Users who want to meditate on the go can track their activity with the Workout app on their Apple Watch while doing their meditation, allowing them to meditate while walking, hiking or stretching.

Meanwhile, Pilates offers a new, low-impact workout for maintaining and improving strength and flexibility. Most Pilates workouts can be done with just an exercise mat, while some also incorporate a resistance band. All Pilates workouts are 10, 20 or 30 minutes long.

Apple Fitness+ costs $14.99 per month, with these new features available September 27. Subscribing to Apple Fitness+ requires an Apple Watch, such as the new Apple Watch Series 7.