Image source: Fitbit

Physical activity down 39%, sleep up under quarantine in the US

Americans are spending more time indoors due to the COVID-19 quarantine, and activity and sleep data from wearables is starting to reflect this.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

We wrote recently about a Fitbit report showing just how much global physical activity levels have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A decline can be seen in most countries.

COVID-19 Pulse is another research project delivering insights on how people are coping with the spread of the virus. This one taps into data from over 159,000 Americans (of which 68,000 had smartwatches and fitness trackers). The study includes Apple Watches, Fitbits and Garmin smartwatches and other wearables.

Results shows a sharp 39% decline in the 7-day rolling step count between March 1st and 24th. Most of the slowdown has accumulated since the middle of the month when President Trump announced a national emergency. Researchers note they believe the bottom of the physical activity decline had yet been hit yet!

Physical activity down 39% under quarantine in the US since March 1st

The chart below illustrates the decline by state. The rolling average as at March 24th has declined by at least 10% in all parts of the country. What’s more, in 46 states the step count has declined by more than 30% between the start of the month and March 24th. In New York City, which has been most effected by the virus, data shows a whopping 50% drop in physical activity in the week the city residents were asked to remain at home.

Physical activity down 39% under quarantine in the US since March 1st

Unsurprisingly, sleep statistics are heading the other way. This is not a bad thing considering the US is a sleep deprived nation. With more free time on their disposal, Americans are resting 20% more since March 13th. The data, again, is a rolling 7 day average. Maryland and New Jersey, which have 2 of the 3 longest commute times in the US, have seen a 25% increase in kip time.

Physical activity down 39% under quarantine in the US since March 1st

Other data from the study is not activity related but is interesting. This, for example, shows more than half of Americans are worried someone in their household will get the COVID-19 virus. This is up from 35% a week earlier. In parallel, there’s a spike in those reporting increased anxiety. Evidation also reports people are more willing to contact medical services remotely.

“We’re all staying at home and a lot less active, we’re sleeping more, we’re snacking more, and we’re keeping an eye on our health at home,” Evidation Health president Christine Lemke said.

“Mostly, we wanted to see differences in states. We know states are seeing different symptom rates and different disease rates. We’re doing this study to watch the trend over time.”

The research is updated every few days. To see the latest figures, head over to COVID-19 Pulse.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

One thought on “Physical activity down 39%, sleep up under quarantine in the US

  • This is worrying indeed, because this is when people need the best immune system they can have. Less exercise more sleep slows your metabolic reflexes, reduces immune responses…The whole strategy of containment is so corrupt and political…we feel like we are into another phase of Social Mass Testing by our governments, and even a new Coup d’État in regard to our Fundamental rigths…feminists must be laughing all the way to the glass ceiling.


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