Looking to understand and support the changing needs of runners in a COVID-19 world, ASICS recently surveyed 14,000 regular exercisers across 12 countries and found that, unsurprisingly, more than one-third of them are more active now than they were before lockdown.

Released in conjunction with Global Running Day last week, the ASICS’ global survey also found that two-thirds of respondents believe exercise helps them cope mentally when faced by challenging situations and 79 percent of runners insist that being active is making them feel saner and more in control.

A similar number (81 percent) said running is playing a key role in helping them clear their mind while two-thirds insist its mental benefits outweigh any other form of physical exercise.

“For most of us, life is full of anxieties, uncertainties and restrictions at the moment,” says Yasuhito Hirota, ASICS president and chief operating officer, adding that the study’s initial findings prove that a run has become much more than just a run. “It’s a way for people to put aside the extraordinary mental challenges of this pandemic.”

“It makes perfect sense that people around the world have turned to run during this crisis. When you run, you literally sense yourself moving forward in life,” adds Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. “You can feel your muscles propel you forward. Your actions take you somewhere. In a time when so many people feel trapped or isolated, running provides a direct, physical experience of release. By encouraging runners of all abilities to recognize, celebrate and share how running makes them feel, ASICS is helping them fulfill their aspirations to keep moving,”

The survey also found that nearly three-quarters of runners want to continue running as much as they are now after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, while 70 percent are determined to hang on to the important role sport and movement is currently playing in their lives.

Most importantly for the run specialty business, among those who only took up running after the COVID-19 crisis started, nearly two-thirds say they plan on sticking with it in the future.

Following release of the survey, ASICS launched a series of initiatives aimed at helping runners connect, stay active and keep on experiencing the uplifting power of movement.

  • Highlighting running in people lives by calling on them to share their stories of how it has helped them via #RunToFeel.
  • Offering free access to the ASICS Studio at-home workout app for everyone from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of summer (August 2020).
  • Hosting virtual races powered by Race Roster and Runkeeper to motivate runners and let them compete together safely.
  • Allowing free access to the #RunToFeel Challenge in the ASICS Runkeeper app – with new challenges being added each month.
  • Allowing free access for 90 days to training plans and all premium features of the ASICS Runkeeper app as a benefit of OneAsics membership.
  • Providing additional training content and guidance from the ASICS FrontRunner community and athletes.

“Nine in 10 runners told us they feel best when their mind and body are connected, and never has that balance been more important than it is now,” continues Yasuhito Hirota. Through our products and services, and by constantly deepening our understanding of their changing needs, we want to help runners of every level go further, perform better and protect themselves against injury, both during this pandemic and beyond.”