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Garmin stats show virtual cycling up 64% in the second half of March

Published April 9, 2020

OLATHE, Kan. (BRAIN) — In the second half of March, Garmin device users recorded a 63% increase in indoor cycling, compared to the same period the year before, the company revealed Thursday.

The GPS and fitness wearable maker provided a glance at data recorded by registered Garmin users on a company blog post. The company said March 13, when the U.S. declared a state of emergency, marked "a major shift in human activity."

The most obvious shift was fewer recorded steps taken. 

"With state and local governments issuing shelter-in-place orders, it's no surprise that Garmin data points to a massive decline in the overall number of steps taken during the second two weeks of March. This is an obvious cause-and-effect scenario and consistent with our global trend data in China, Italy and other countries where the pandemic struck first," the company said.

But digging deeper into the stats showed that resort skiing and snowboarding "suddenly disappeared" from Garmin data in the second half of March. That's when ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, and elsewhere shut down.

But indoor cycling saw the increase in the second half of the month, precisely at the time when riders normally stop riding indoors and head outside.

Garmin data shows a 63% increase in virtual cycling in late March.

Garmin also saw that indoor treadmill running and lap swimming were down 44% and 88%, respectively.

"On the surface, that sounds like we've grinded to a halt. However, the full story points to the exact opposite. Remember, big box gyms across the country closed, which is a massive number of treadmills still sitting idle at the moment. If we look at virtual running (performed on a treadmill by linking your smartwatch to an outside app such as Zwift) we see a steep increase in the second half of March. And despite gym closures, overall indoor cardio is holding strong over 2019 levels and showing an 18% week-over-week increase from March 16 to March 30."

And while steps recorded during regular daily activity were down, walking as a logged activity profile was up 36% in the period.

Garmin also showed an 11% increase in yoga, while golf declined 20%.

The company promised to release full-month data from April when available. 

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