Garmin data analysis of the global pandemic: Focused activity increases as people adapt to restrictions

While the coronavirus is keeping people from participating in fitness activities they were completing just a couple of months ago, data shows that people are adapting and finding ways to stay healthy. It's important to maintain your fitness during these uncertain times so that you can help your body fight against viruses and other ailments.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Prior to the spread of this global pandemic I was training regularly for a half marathon race that was scheduled for early June, obviously now canceled. Thankfully, I live in a low population density area and am able to continue running outside safely away from anyone else.

According to data collected by Garmin devices, average daily steps were down 12% in April 2020 when compared to April 2019. It is interesting to see that steps from logged activities, not just step data when you are moving outside of a focused activity, show an increase of 24% worldwide. Garmin concludes that people are participating in exercise activities to make up for walking around all day long.

My daily Garmin step goal is 8492 and that was set from years of my two-mile walk to and from the office, along with walking around the office all day. Prior to April, I typically ran a couple of times a week, but have been logging three or more runs a week over the past month and a half. Part of my motivation for running more is my lack of regular daily walking outside the home.

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The largest increase in activities in the US was indoor cycling, also popular in Russia, South America, and some other European, African, and Asian countries. Indoor cycling was very popular in March when everyone started heading home. Walking showed the largest increase in Canada and Australia.

Garmin data clearly shows that swimming had the largest decrease across most of the world. In Australia, data shows that 54% of those who swam in April 2019 switched to running outdoors in April 2020. Closed pools across the world drove athletes to find other exercise activities.

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World champion distance runner Alexi Pappas stated, "I have always drawn so much strength from running with teammates. I feel that at its best, running is a team sport. But now, since it is not yet safe to run in groups, I've turned to listening to audiobooks on my runs. I've 'read' so many books that I never would have discovered before. It's not the same as running with teammates, but it has grown into an alternative that I really enjoy." I listened to many audiobooks while I was training for a full marathon as 15-20 mile runs consume lots of time on the road.

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As Garmin concludes, people are adapting routines to continue to stay active and overall are able to continue to maintain their fitness. Professional athletes must find ways to stay fit since their sports seasons will eventually return and they must be ready to compete.

Has your standard exercise routine changed and what are you doing at this time to maintain your activity levels?

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