As the global lockdown starts to lift, we have even more insights into our behaviors, how we’ve changed, and the nuances of each country’s habits.
Withings and Polar have both released data from those using the platforms for fitness, activity and sleep tracking – and it’s a fascinating insight into how the world has changed.
Of course, we need to be careful about stats around health tracking. Polar and Withings users are more likely to be health-conscious individuals, and the act of tracking our wellness and activity through the lockdown in itself is likely to result in better behaviors.
Global steps decreasing
As the lockdown took hold through March, it's unsurprising that step counts started decreasing around the world. But there’s some interesting variations between countries.
According to Withings, China’s Hubei province and Spain have most stringently complied with stay at home orders and daily step count levels decreased 56% and 41% respectively.
Withings data shows activity levels in Italy dropped 28% and 27% in France. That’s at odds with the UK’s more relaxed lockdown, which saw just an 8% drop.
That’s similar numbers for the US, where lockdown hasn’t been implemented in all states, and steps declined just 7% nationally.
However, New York, which has been a global epicenter of the virus, reduced steps by 22%. Indiana and Connecticut actually increasing in average daily step rates.
Germany has seen step counts increase by 1%.
So how has all these extra time at home affected sleep?
Polar data showed that Americans sleep 14 minutes more on average per night, and woke 34 minutes later.
According to Withings those in the UK slept 15 minutes longer and woke 9 minutes later. France increased sleep time by 20 minutes more each night.
In the US workouts have increased dramatically year-on-year, according to Polar.
Outdoor workouts have surged 17.95% in March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. And indoor workouts have dropped 21.55%.
That would indicate that a high number of Polar users, which looks at the more ‘prosumer’ end of the market, have ditched the gym in favour of outdoor workouts.
But Withings had even more granular data:
Globally, yoga is up 42%, hiking up 34%, indoor cycling has increased by 19% and running has gone up by 18%.
Sports on the decline include tennis (down 66%), swimming (down 53%) badminton (down 50%) and indoor running (down by 39%).
That was backed up by Polar, which said treadmill running was down by more than 43% in the US at the end of March.
If anyone thought that locking down would cause our weights to balloon, that’s not been the case according to Withings stats.
On average, those in the U.K. gained just 0.35lbs (160g), compared to gains of 0.41lbs (189g) for Germany, 0.42lbs (195g) for Italy, and 0.55lbs (25g) for China.
Of course, those tracking their weights are likely more mindful and careful. And in turn, more likely to exercise and make adaptations.
Withings also found some interesting data around sleep and stress. This is a little more technical, but it found that heart rate anomalies – which can be caused by stress, sickness or alcohol consumption – decreased by 45% at weekends and 34% during the week.
The reasons for that aren’t clear – and likely aren’t one down to one single thing.
Perhaps the lockdown has led to a more health focused approach, better sleep quality and less alcohol. Perhaps ironically, the greatest pandemic in modern times has led to a reduction of stress in our lives.