April 7th, 2020

Corona Changes Exercise Habits – Movesense Powers Exercise Solutions That Are Ideal For Lockdown

Firstbeat Sports supports remote training of pro athletes during the corona epidemic

The coronavirus pandemic affects all areas of life, sports and exercise being not an exception. Movesense is part of Suunto, a renowned Finnish manufacturer of sports watches. The company recently revealed interesting data on how exercising in different countries has gone through dramatic changes during the pandemic. The information is based on anonymous user data of millions of Suunto watch users around the world.

In the Movesense team, this made us to think that many companies in our network are working on solutions that are especially well suited to support both general physical activity and goal oriented performance training in these challenging times. We want to share these thoughts with you.

Not unexpectedly, the amount of workouts in all team sports, gym exercise and most indoor sports has collapsed due to the social distancing activities in different countries. On the other hand, in areas where solo outdoor exercises are still allowed, different endurance activities are on the upswing. In the next chapters we’ll have a closer look at these different themes.


Team sports and corona

Of all sports, team sports are probably suffering the most of the corona situation. By default, team sports doesn’t exist without social contacts – within the team and in the audience. When all group training is called off and games have been suspended, it’s evident that also the amount of team sports workouts in Suunto data has dropped dramatically.

Italy and Spain, two strong team sports countries, are among the worst affected by corona in Europe. They have also applied strict restrictions of public gatherings and closed all sports premises. As a result, the amount of soccer training sessions in Italy dropped a drastic 81% and in Spain even 86% in the first week of March compared to the situation a month earlier. Other team sports show similar figures.

However, teams want to keep their players fit during the break and the players want to maintain their skills and fitness level as high as possible. To meet the target, all teams who are serious about their performance have gone to remote coaching. Players are training at home, or by themselves in the local premises if they are open. To make sure that the players are training right and getting sufficient recovery, teams need adequate tools.

Firstbeat Sports is a player monitoring platform to help guide training and recovery. It provides comprehensive physiological analytics of players for team sports coaches and has excellent personal tools for athletes to track their training individually and to provide the results to a coach remotely. The featured image of this article is provided by Firstbeat.

Another practical solution for team sports is Beyond Pulse. Their system tracks training load and player performance especially in youth soccer. In addition to valuable coach tools, the Beyond Pulse system also includes a personal mobile app that each player can use when training alone.


Indoor exercise and strength training

In Finland where Suunto headquarters and Movesense team are located, the user data shows that swimming dropped by 76 % after public swimming pools shut down.

Also many gyms have closed and the ones that are open have very few customers. Gym exercise, including home gyms, has decreased in Finland by 30 % and group classes at gyms even more. The same trend is visible in all countries, even more distinct in the ones where all public spaces are closed.

On the other hand, people are trying to stay active despite the restrictions. The amount workouts that are possible at home such as yoga, circuit training, and bodyweight exercise has grown significantly.

A few companies in the Movesense community work on solutions that are ideal for home training and are highly useful also after the epidemic.

The Spanish Volava just started shipping their Fitness Boxing Kit for home use. Volava is also streaming fitboxing classes from their own studio, making the kit perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy high quality exercises at home.

The German Evomo measures bodyweight exercise with Movesense to count reps and to guide the user to perform different exercises in an optimal way. Their solution is intended to be integrated with any sports mobile app, both for home use and for using in the gym.

Our development partner Kaasa, also from Germany, has a training solution for martial arts. This is a serious coaching tool and works best in situations with two people only – an athlete and a coach. It would thus meet the German corona rule of prohibiting public meetings of more than two people.


Outdoor and endurance sports

In most countries, endurance sports and exercising in the outdoors are still allowed if sufficient social distancing measures are followed. With the spring season in the Northern hemisphere, this means an even stronger increase of running, walking, cycling and light hiking than in a normal spring. On the other hand, people are advised to skip mountain sports and other riskier activities where accidents would further load the overloaded healthcare system.

In Finland we see the arriving spring and reduced availability of other sports resulting in the increase of cycling (+66%), mountain biking (+50%) and hiking (+40%). Also running has grown clearly. In Spain and Italy where much stricter mobility restrictions apply, the amount of longer outdoor exercises of over 90 minutes has dropped by up to 60%.

With no running events in the calendar for the spring, this could be the time to improve your running technique. The Finnish startup Runteq has developed useful tool for this purpose. It uses Movesense sensor to measure different parameters of your gait and running style.


Daily activity and sleep

The amount of daily steps reveal a positive trend in China: In January, Chinese Suunto users walked on the average 9300 steps a day. As the quarantine began in February, the amount dropped to 7300 steps. In March, the step count bounced back to 8900, indicating that the daily life starts slowly getting back to normal. Hopefully this is soon true for all of us!

Another positive finding comes from Italy and Spain: On the average, Italians are now getting 6:44 hours of sleep, a significant 14 minutes more than before the lockdown. In Spain, the average sleeping time of Suunto users is now 6:37h, 10 minutes more than in February. In both countries, also the quality of sleep has been on the rise since the quarantine started.

Maintaining sufficient daily activity in quarantine and when working from home is important for everyone’s health. A professional tool for monitoring daily activity and the impact of lifestyle on one’s health is developed by Exsed.

Exsed is a spin-off from the Finnish UKK Institute, a center for health promotion research. The Exsed service provides a 24/7 tracking of sedentary behavior, physical activity and sleep quality and quantity. Opposite to most fitness trackers, Exsed is backed up by many years of research with thousands of participants and population level health data.

For tracking all your sports, daily activity and sleep, we naturally also recommend Suunto watches. They are top of the line and most of them are made in Finland in our own factory.

By the way, did you know that the new Suunto 7 watch with Android Wear OS can run apps that are compatible with Movesense sensor?

Note also that we are inviting innovators to find ways to use Movesense sensors for helping the corona situation. We are making sensors available, free of charge, for projects that have a concrete proposal on how the sensors would help.


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