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Data reveal impact of coronavirus on physical activity

A wearable fitness company revealed what we’ve known for a few weeks now: we are walking less and we are moving less than before because we are required to stay at home to stem the spread of coronavirus. 

Data reveal impact of coronavirus on physical activity

Unless you’re a frontliner, going outside is only allowed when purchasing essential items, food, and medicine, for example. 

Marky Perez, an accountant for a multinational company, now works at home. Due to the nature of his desk-bound job, he ensures that he’s able to squeeze in a lot of steps by walking to his office from home. His weekly average steps per day recorded on his fitness tracker: 7,500. 

That was before the government-imposed quarantine. 

His average steps last week: 650. 

“That number was the result of my working three steps from my bed,” he shared. It certainly didn’t help step-wise that Perez is “not the holder of our household’s quarantine pass.”

The data on the steep decrease in step count due to COVID-19 pandemic was gathered from over 30 million active Fitbit users around the world.  

As countries adapt to social distancing and community quarantines, the wearable fitness tracker company said “it is not a surprise that almost all countries studied by Fitbit experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count, compared to that of the same time in the previous year.”

By establishing a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area during the same week from the previous year, Fitbit data scientists were able to analyze the activity of millions of Fitbit users. 

According to this analysis, during the week of March 22 this year, the United States saw a 12 percent decline in step count. The company previously reported that Fitbit users in the US clock in an average of 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day—depending on the season. 

Further, the deviation from normal activity for this time last year occurred much earlier in countries like China (16 percent lower) and Hong Kong, which were the first to face COVID-19. In the Philippines, the decline in step count was 27 percent. 

But there are also reasons for optimism, as the graphs reveal that step counts are starting to rise again in China, Japan, and Hong Kong. Wuhan in China, the city where the virus was first detected, opened last week after its 76-day lockdown.

Given the current circumstances, Fitbit offers tips to stay healthy to boost immunity.

Access free trial of Premium 

Fitbit is offering a free 90-day trial of Fitbit Premium to users wherever Premium is available, and offering 40 new pieces of Premium content for free in the Fitbit app. 

Premium offers access to hundreds of workouts categorized by time, activity, and fitness level. Also available are a variety of guided programs, advanced insights, and sleep and mindfulness tools to help individuals eat better, get more activity, and enjoy more quality shuteye. 

To take advantage of this trial, open the Fitbit app and tap on the “Premium” tab in the lower-right corner (this trial offer is only valid for new Premium users). 

Drink water, eat nutritious food

Loading up on water is one of the quintessential tips to be healthy—and still is today. Fitbit users are encouraged to take advantage of the water log feature in the app. In addition, healthy recipes are available on the company’s blog.

Take mental health breaks

In this time of crisis and uncertainty, of disheartening reports on TV and social media newsfeed, remembering to take regular mental health breaks is crucial. Citing studies, Fitbit said taking a few moments to relax each day can reduce blood pressure and lower risk of cardiovascular disease. 

The Relax feature in the smartwatch provides personalized deep breathing sessions (two-minute and five-minute) that can help users find moments of calm throughout the day. 

Data reveal impact of coronavirus on physical activity
STILL LIFE. As people spend most of their time at home, physical activities are on the backburner as seen on the step count data gathered from users of a fitness tracker brand. 
Support each other

Even not together, friends and families can start a friendly competition to get more steps, support each other, and keep achieving gains virtually. Fitbit Challenges are all about pushing to see who can take the most steps over the course of one day, weekdays, or weekend. Because they are based on the total number of steps achieved—not who reaches a certain step count first—they’re a great option for friends in different time zones. 

Topics: COVID-19 pandemic , Fitbit Premium , Marky Perez , physical activity
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