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Apple launches Time To Walk because we’re all dying inside

Coming soon: Time To Breathe

apple watch time to walk
Image: KnowTechie

What happened to us? What happened to humans that we’ve become slaves to our devices, unable to coherently function in the world without constant reminders or nudges from our devices?

It’s tough not to become something of a Luddite when one remembers just a short decade ago when people apparently were capable of thinking for themselves, being in charge of their own memories and daily tasks. There was a time when humans could slap a tape in the Walkman and go on a walk, without a device demanding that type of response to a prompt.

This brings us to Apple’s new feature for the Apple Watch, called Time To Walk. The feature is available for the Watch as well as Apple Fitness+ subscribers and claims to offer a “new audio walking experience” that invites users to “immerse themselves in a walk alongside influential and interesting people as they share thoughtful and meaningful stories, photos, and music”. Only Apple could make taking a walk seem like some sort of expensive, luxury experience only available to a select few.

At launch, Apple’s Time To Walk inspirational stories feature Dolly Parton, Draymond Green, Shawn Mendes, and Uzo Aduba. Because nothing enhances your walk more than celebrities telling you about how they became celebrities while you meander through the shitty part of town, hoping you don’t get a rusted knife thrust into your kidney.

As someone who gets whacked in the face with an Apple Watch several times a night, there is a level of apathy toward these devices. For some, they surely assist in living a better life, for others, they are simply another automated luxury item on a user’s wrist because it’s Apple-branded and it exists.

Do we need a reminder to take a walk?

It seems that we do. The CDC reported in 2018 that the health and life expectancy of Americans continues to decline. The leading causes of death were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. Add COVID-19 to the top of that list for 2020 (and probably 2021). While walking can’t help with some of that, with things like heart disease and diabetes, we know the importance of exercise. But again, do we absolutely need a device attached to our wrists in order to prompt us to participate in an activity we obviously could easily manage on our own?

Our vitals were only important to us when we went to the doctor, but having them on our wrists has enabled us to become irrationally obsessed, WebMD-style, about our health and wellness. We’ve turned our homes into smart homes, while the pandemic has fully cemented us as a screen-reliant society. Some psychologists are working to understand whether this is simply the evolution of the brand of humankind, or if we’re addicted to a thing and need help. So yeah, we need fucking reminders to go for a damn walk.

While screen-time limiting programs are being developed, we’re relying on our screens to make sure we’re living a physically healthy life. We’ve become a ridiculous parody of functional humans, laughed at by the universe for relying on our advances in technology to manage our physicality rather than the evolutionary process that is central to our place in the universe.

Perhaps that’s too deep a consideration for an app that reminds you to take a walk. Take a walk, it’s not hard. Hop on the bike. Go for a run if you can. Skateboard. Roller skate. Jump up and down. Move a bit during sex and don’t just lay there (Kevin). Play drums. This isn’t hard fellow humans, we can do it. We can lead moderately healthy lives without glancing at our wrists or forcing some inspirational podcast down our gullets. But yeah, we don’t have to. We can sit inside, glare at our iPads while our hearts swell and the diabetes takes our feet.

One bright spot with this dumb (but depressingly functional) app is that Apple put some thought into accessibility for wheelchair users, Apple’s Time To Walk becomes Time To Push. It’s rare these days for a tech company not focused on the accessibility space to actually give a crap about that space (which they all should).

The bottom line is that some people need these types of apps to become active (did these people even exist a decade ago?) They need the push, they need the device they rely on more than anything in their life to become what many of us already have, a nagging mother pinching our side fat and questioning our life decisions. So go take a walk, ya bum.

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