The world is in crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of the government lockdowns, layoffs, furloughs, work-from-home mandates, school closures and sports facility shutdowns, Run Repeat wanted to understand how this virus is affecting the exercise habits of people around the globe. 

The group surveyed 12,913 participants from 139 countries between March 24 and March 30 to gather data on how Coronavirus has changed their physical activity routines. The bottom line: Most people now do more sports than before the pandemic became a global crisis.

Full report is here:

Among the key findings:

  • People who normally exercise one or two times a week have increased exercising by 88 percent on average
  • People who normally exercise up to three times a  week have increased exercising by 38 percent on average
  • Paradoxically, people who normally exercise more than four times a  week have decreased exercising by 14 percent on average

Even better news for the run specialty business: Running is leading the way in this exercise resurgence. According to Run Repeat, since running has remained one of the activities allowed for those on lockdown in most places it is realizing some significant increases in participation.


The study found that runners who normally only participate once or twice a week increased their participation by 117 percent on average. Those previously running up to three times a week reported an increase of 55 percent on average. 

But, again, avid runners (those running more than four times a week) actually decreased their efforts by nine percent on average because of the COVID-19 crisis. 

In essence, the report found that those used to running the least have upped their efforts the most and those who run frequently actually decreased their efforts. 

As for general exercise habit changes during COVID-19, Run Repeat asked participants to report on how many times a week they typically exercised, worked out or played sports both before the outbreak, and after the outbreak hit a global scale. (For this study, it defined multiple groups depending on their weekly frequency of exercise.) 

  • Average athletes, or those that normally only exercise one or two times a week, increased their exercise frequency the most — 88 percent on average.
  • Moderate athletes also increased their frequency by 38 percent on average. 
  • Avid athletes, those that workout more than four times a week, have decreased their exercise frequency by 14 percent on average.


The Takeaways

Although many places around the world are under shelter-at-home orders, the majority of those orders allow for people to exercise outside. Running and walking around town are still great options.


This article was provided by Paul Ronto, at Run Repeat. He can be reached at [email protected].