Americans Are Less Active Since COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Orders

Physical activity in the United States declined by 39 percent nationwide between March 1 and March 27 with most of the decrease happening after March 13, according to a tracking study by Evidation Health.

The health and measurement company launched a study of people’s health during the pandemic as well as their attitudes and experiences during this time. 

March 13, the date when most of the decline began, corresponds with the time physical distancing recommendations increased and various businesses, such as health clubs, YMCAs, university rec centers and parks and rec facilities, began to close.

Since March 13, the amount of time Americans slept has increased by almost 20 percent, according to the study. Sleep time actually increased by 25 percent in Maryland and New Jersey, two of the states that are in the top three states for longest commute time, according to Evidation Health.

Myzone also reports a decrease in the percentage of its monthly active users of its belt reaching their activity goals of 1300 MEPS, which equate to the World Health Organization’s goal of doing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of rigorous exercise.

“Typically, we have 50 percent of our monthly active users that will hit that number,” Emmett Williams, Myzone CEO, said in an April 1 Club Industry Town Hall about how to offer virtual solutions during the COVID-19 crisis. That number has been consistent for the last five to seven years, but in March, it decreased to 41 percent.

At the same time, online sales of the Myzone belt have “gone through the roof,” he said.

“What that’s telling us is that people are still buying belts because we are shipping them to their house, but they are not getting as much exercise done,” Williams said. “They are still doing exercise; they are just not getting as much done. It’s harder to do a one-hour boot camp class in your lounge room. Typically, you are adjusting that, and it’s becoming a 20- to 30-minute segment instead. And therefore, our users are finding it harder to hit that quota.”

Numbers show that Americans took 47 percent fewer steps in March, according to Jillian Cohen, founder and CEO of Virtual Health Partners, a virtual care provider offering condition-specific live support for nutrition, lifestyle modification and fitness. Cohen was also a panelist on the April 1 town hall.

“April could get even worse as more counties and cities have gone on full shutdown,” she said. “But we have seen tremendous amounts of content being watched, so people are still moving, but they are moving in their homes, and they are watching content and specific classes around that.”

Intelivideo, a video on-demand platform that enables businesses to sell their videos for secure on-demand streaming or download, noticed a steep growth for its business starting in mid-March, Ashley Podoll, marketing manager for Intelivideo, shared in the town hall.

“Streaming and download is up an extraordinary measure,” she said. Bandwidth has increased eight times since about March 12, and the number of subscribers for its customers has increased four times on average.

“But some of these smaller operations have seen exponential growth compared to where they started at with the subscriber base as well,” she said. “Overall, traffic, visitors and then the consumption of content is dramatically up, keeps climbing and is maintaining its pace then weekly.”