With the coronavirus pandemic dragging on, and with a few months of winter left to keep most of us indoors, it has been difficult to exercise recently. Home fitness apps and high-end devices like Peloton could help fill the void – and Apple launched its market entry in January.

This service, known as Apple Fitness +, allows users to stream a wide variety of Workouts led by personal trainers. It includes workouts for a stationary bike or a Rowing machineas well as aerobics sessions, yoga, high-intensity interval training, weight training, and more. Apple Fitness + also monitors metrics such as calorie consumption, heart rate and individual fitness goals.

If you’re looking for a new home fitness regimen or just find it time to do something other than watch Netflix, here’s everything you need to know about Apple Fitness +.

[See: 7 Exercises That Trainers Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Doing.]

In the Apple universe

The first thing to understand is that Apple likes to keep everything in-house. That said, you can’t use the fitness app without being in the Apple verse. You must have at least an Apple Watch Series 3 or higher. To take full advantage of the service, you should also have one or more of their other products: iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.

If you own or buy the appropriate Apple Watch, Apple Fitness + will automatically appear in the Fitness app on your iPhone. The fitness app can be downloaded from the App Store for an iPad and on Apple TV. Everyone needs the latest software updates to work.

According to Apple, you can get three months of free Apple Fitness + when you buy an Apple Watch Series 3 or later. If you need to update your iPhone and Apple Watch to the latest version of iOS, you have three months to redeem the offer.

[Read: Tips to Restart Your Exercise Routine.]

If you like your trial and choose to sign up, the service costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 79.99 per year and can be shared with up to five family members. Many of the workouts don’t require special ones Fitness equipment. Some do – and Apple is happy to sell you these too – but of course you can buy dumbbells. Exercise bike, Rowing machines, treadmills, yoga mats and blocks wherever you want.

The story goes on

If you are an absolute beginner, there is an educational program called “Absolute Beginner” to teach the basics of fitness. The workouts themselves range from easy to expert, and each session is led by three trainers, one showing the way, one showing how to change them to make them easier, and one adding more difficult changes.

Apple plans to regularly release new workouts and features. In mid-January, Time to Walk was added, known as “Short Podcast Episodes,” available directly on Apple Watch. They feature celebrities like Shawn Mendes, Dolly Parton, Draymond Green, and Uzo Aduba talking about themselves, playing music that means something to them, and essentially keeping you in company while you run for 25 to 45 minutes. Apple says that every celebrity actually went to a place meaningful to them while they were recording their episode.

What the experts say

Like most Apple products, Fitness + is great to look at. “It’s actually a pretty good and well-designed service,” says Victoria Song, a consumer tech reporter at Gizmodo. After trying more than 40 workouts, Song found that they were “very easy to incorporate into your everyday life”.

Apple Fitness + also emphasizes accessibility and inclusivity. “There are instructors for every body type and color. All of the instructors use American sign language at some point. There was an amputee instructor. It’s nice to see it all,” says Song. “If you’re alienated from other fitness programs, you may feel welcome.”

[See: The Best Exercise for Every Mood.]

The service is more aimed at beginners or beginners get fit again – which makes it a little easier for experienced athletes. “If you love serious weight lifting with kettlebells or barbells, this is not the app for you,” says Song.

Cherlynn Low, Review Editor for Engadget, tends to agree. “I do a lot yogaand I didn’t find the yoga challenging enough, “she says.” The only challenges for me were the HIIT and the core (workouts) just because those are my personal weaknesses. “On the plus side,” I really liked instructors, and I’m generally pretty picky about instructors. “

Both Song and Low agree that Apple Fitness + is worth a free trial if you already own the Apple products you need and are looking for something new. But, “I don’t think that’s enough to make me buy an Apple Watch,” which Low says costs around $ 200. Song adds, “You need to be aware of what Apple is doing. They want to take you deeper into the Apple universe.”

Originally published January 28, 2021, 3:04 p.m.