This is how the global COVID19 pandemic affects training: data from Garmin.


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Spain is not the only country that is being confined because of the coronavirus pandemic. With more than 3 billion people following the #StayAtHome mantra, it is clear that physical activity has changed completely. And I'm talking about day to day activity, not just workouts.

It is possible that the pattern has changed, but what is clear is that none of us are willing to sit on the couch. No, it seems that society doesn't want to go into that world that Disney drew in his movie Wall-E.


Garmin has published a study analyzing the activity data that users have been uploading to its platform in March, where we can see how the declaration of confinement affected all physical activity, around March 13 to 15, in much of the world. And it does so by comparing with the same period last year.

The overall activity has fallen

Naturally, the average number of daily steps has fallen since the declaration in different countries of the world of a state of emergency. Here you can see a comparison between data from the United States and the rest of the world, with a key date in mid-month.

Daily steps Coronavirus

However, I would point out that the decline has not been so high. Yes, we're walking less, but it's 600-800 fewer steps that we walk every day compared to what we used to do before. Considering that we barely leave home I think that it's a remarkable figure. That only means one thing: we are training more at home.

Indoor coronavirus training

The graph indicates the percentage of change in activity (not minutes or other metric). The difference is noticeable, with increments of up to 120%. In addition, from mid-month onwards, the increase has been progressive.

However, we walk more

That increase in steps is also explained in another way: walkways, balconies and gardens.

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Walking coronavirus

The truth is, we haven't stopped walking. We don't do it on the street anymore, but we do keep doing it within everyone's possibilities. Anyone who has a corridor or a terrace is sure to have already traveled it compulsively on more than one occasion.

As I said a few days ago, home training has changed radically, something that fully confirms the fact that all stores have sold out of all kinds of accessories and fitness equipment: treadmills, bike trainers, weights... Anything has served us to keep us active and many people have bought, to a greater or lesser extent, more elements to expand the gym at home.

Now training is virtual

Indeed, the winners of this situation have been virtual training platforms such as Zwift, Bkool and the like.

Virtual cycling coronavirus

We cyclists have changed the environment completely. Instead of riding outdoors we have been forced to pedal in virtual worlds. But the truth is that we have liked it and we are seeing it more and more as fun way of doing a workout, rather than an obligation due to not being able to train outdoors.

The rise of virtual cycling has not only been prominent in the second half of March, but has been progressively increasing over time. More and more of us have tried it, we care less and less about training on the trainer and we are having more and more fun thanks to events, races and "outings" with friends.

There are two other very interesting graphs of how our activity and habits has changed. Treadmill running has decreased compared to last year.

Coronavirus ribbon race

Looking at this graph, you might well think that the activity has stopped. No, the activity has not stopped, what has been interrupted has been attendance to the gyms, and the thousands of treadmills inside them are now stopped, because they are simply closed.

However, as with virtual cycling, virtual run is on the rise.

Virtual coronavirus race

Here we see once again the real winners in this crisis: indoor training platforms.

We might think that the material manufacturers have also benefited. Yes, but not to a great extent (or at least not as much as the "Zwifts" of the world). They have managed to clear the entire stock of rollers and treadmills, but they were not prepared for the demand that has existed and continues to exist. Today it is virtually impossible to get your hands on a treadmill or roller.

Sports that have disappeared

Of course there are activities that we have had to completely put aside. With swimming pools and ski resorts closed, these are two sports that have completely disappeared from our training history.

Ski coronavirus

Swimming coronavirus

None of this data is surprising, in fact it is the pattern we all have followed. However, the interesting thing is to see how our behavior is the same that has occurred not only in the rest of your country, but globally.

And I repeat that there will come a day when confinement will end, but many of these behaviors will stay with us, because we have seen that there are other forms of training that are perfectly valid, and even on some occasions better than those we had so far.

How many of you have found out that what you can do without going to the gym and doing your exercises at home? How many of you rode the trainer only those days you had no other choice and now consider it not only a good option, but a fun one? How many of you hated running on a treadmill before and think that from now on you will not run outside unless the weather is nice?

I know that from this moment, my training pattern is going to change, and I'm sure yours will, too. Are you going to change the way you train? Tell us in the comments.

And with that... thanks for reading!


Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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