Garmin data reveals how the world is working out during the lockdown

Garmin users are still getting sweaty
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With over a quarter of the world’s population now in lockdown, our activity habits are changing. But it seems that the world isn’t quite ready to sit on the sofa and get out of shape, according to data released by Garmin.

Our habits have changed dramatically, and we’re embracing home workouts and relishing the chance to take exercise within the guidelines set by the government. And unsurprisingly, the data from Garmin sports watches and wearables, is showing how our lives are changing.

It’s published data from March 2020, showing the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown – and compared it with 2019 for good measure.

And it’s startling, as people pause their normal workout routines, but we also get to see the types of exercise replacing it.

So let’s take a look at what they found:

Walking and activity are down...


Unsurprisingly, the amount of daily steps recorded by Garmin devices has plummeted over the period, not just in the US but around the world. This came down from an average of around 8700 steps per day at the start of March to 7700 by the end.

But walking workouts are up!


However, Garmin has seen a huge boost in walking tagged workouts – which surged as the lockdown took hold around 20 March, with 31 March data 40% year-on-year.

This likely shows that people are relishing their exercise time, and determined to make it count.

We’re working out A LOT more indoors…


Indoor cardio workout tracking has soared, tracking 150% up year-on-year as people embrace home workouts, HIIT classes and the like. You can also see the numbers increasing, while March 2019 stayed pretty flat.

This also accounts for a 50% uptick in yoga tracking as well.

And virtually…


Garmin also has seen a huge spike in virtual workouts. Both virtual cycling and running, using services like Peloton and Zwift, with cycling in particular 63% up. You can also see those numbers dropping off in March 2019 as the improving weather started to lure people from their homes.

But the data also shows the effects of gyms shutting down, as tracked treadmill runs are hugely down overall.

What can we learn?

None of this data is hugely surprising, but it is kind of intriguing to see it manifest itself across the population.

And while the lockdowns will end eventually, it could be that this period is a watershed moment for the way we workout – and some of these habitual changes could stay with us forever.

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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