The run up to January is always accompanied by a range of end of year lists. Alongside my Spotify Wrapped breakdown, I always look forward to seeing Strava’s annual insights.
Always enlightening, this year’s edition is a bit different. While I usually wait in anticipation to see the changes in run-commuting data, the 2020 report is, unsurprisingly, dominated by the changes to our exercising lives instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the role that exercise plays in people’s lives during this period.
There is much to unpack here so I highly recommend checking out the report in full and the explainer post.
But some key take-aways for me:
- Exercise participation had increased during the pandemic for both established exercisers and those new to it. This could result from both the changing structures of everyday life enabling more exercise or an increased need for it to maintain physical and mental health.
- These increases have been led by women and the new opportunities they have found to do exercise. This demands attention to the usual structures which inhibit women’s participation in exercise.
- Globally, exercise was seen as playing different roles in the pandemic, and national policies had big impacts on individual’s exercise participation.
- In the UK, for example, exercise rates were 82% above expected rates between March and April 2020 as it was permitted during lockdown.
- France however, which has much stricter rules around exercising, saw exercise rates 15% below expected levels.
- The scale of Strava is just enormous:
- 73 million total athletes
- 1.1 billion activity uploads
- 3.0 billion km ran globally
- 13.0 billion km cycled globally
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