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The COVID-19 outbreak means social distancing measures are in full force. What effect is this having on our activity levels? Garmin data gives the answer.
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The coronavirus pandemic shows little sign of slowing. Some 1.7 million cases are registered around the world, half a million of which in the US. The hope is the outbreak will start to level off soon in the US and Europe, as it has in China. In the meantime, governments around the world have implemented measures which limit going outside.
It’s not very easy to stay active if you are stuck between four walls. But it’s not impossible. You could, for example, do Cardio, Strength, Yoga and Pilates workouts. Or, if you have the equipment (or space), indoor running or cycling.
It seems many of us are struggling with finding ways to meet our step goals at home. Garmin data is showing a massive decline in average steps since the middle of March, both in the US and globally. That’s not surprising. There’s no further breakdown but we suspect the regional picture would show that those living in countries with strict social distancing measures, such as Italy and Spain, are most effected.
But while the average number of steps is falling, it seems people are managing to find alternative ways to stay in shape. Garmin compared activity levels in the US across different types of exercises between the first and second half of March. They then baselined this against the same period last year.
Not surprisingly, the data shows a marked shift in the types of activities people are doing. The big winner is virtual cycling. It saw a whopping 64% increase between the first and second half of the month. This is in contrast to last year when it saw a 20% fall in the same period, no doubt a result of nicer spring weather.
The other big winner is virtual running. This consists of stepping on a treadmill and linking your wrist wearable to an app such as Zwift. Remember, this is despite gym closures which is where most of us would traditionally engage in such an activity. There have been media reports that home exercise equipment is selling out, and these stats seem to confirm this is the case.
Activities which have shown a marked decline include swimming and snowboarding, registering a 88% and 96% decline respectively in March. Its not so easy to recreate a pool for lap-swimming inside your home, and weekend winter-sports destinations are closed in the US. Golf is another looser while yoga has seen a big increase.
Seek and you shall find. Despite the fall in the average number of steps, Garmin data shows people are managing to find alternative ways to stay in shape. Many are bringing the gym to their home. With social distancing measures likely to stay in place for at least for a few more weeks, there’s never been a better time to brush up on your in-home exercise routine!
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