South African ultra runner Ryan Sandes was right on the money when asked about races being cancelled in 2020: “Sure, it’s a little disappointing,” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s just a race. I’ve still got my health, I’ve still got my family. When you look at it more holistically like that it gives you peace of mind and you become a better athlete, a better human, you’re more relaxed. For running ultras you need this, you need to be calm and in a good headspace.”
Whatever your sport, having a positive, calm headspace is optimal. It hasn’t always been easy maintaining that this year. But the reverse is also true; training, pursuing the sports we love, helped to keep us on an even keel. Each reinforces the other.
The data we’ve collected and crunched from 2020 user activity shows staying active, finding ways to train, and even taking the opportunity to rest more, have been key in helping us ride out this crazy year. We’ve found ways to keep ourselves pumped. Let us walk you through the data.
Spain on top
The first wave of COVID-19 hit Spain hard. The lockdowns were strict, sudden and shocking. But that didn’t stop Spaniards from continuing to train and find ways to challenge themselves. Our data shows Suunto’s users in Spain clocked the highest total minutes per user, averaging 5,965 minutes on average.
Spanish Suunto athlete Joaquin Perez also looked out for community initiatives to help his community cope. Back in April he told us: “A good source of inspiration and motivation for the community are the multiple solidarity initiatives that exist, for example in Spain last Saturday there was an initiative to raise funds for COVID-19 research where more than 7,300 athletes ran in their homes and raised almost €83,000,” he says.
Respect to Suunto users in France for having the highest total ascent numbers! They also had the highest total meters for all workouts combined in both running and cycling.
And, just like in 2019, the French had the highest "adventure running ratio": our French community ran 15 times more on the trails than on the treadmill!
We stayed upbeat
Even with tough times the average mood our users selected after each workout was "very good". This is slightly higher than the year before in spring 2019. By the time autumn arrived in the northern hemisphere it was about the same as 2019.
Check out our article about making your best workout playlist ever, and give your mood a boost on your next workout!
The most active countries were …
Take your hats off to Finland, South Africa, Sweden, Russian and Poland for having the most active Suunto users. It’s interesting South Africa is the only country in the southern hemisphere to make the list. It also went into lockdown early.
These places caught more Zs
Finland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Estonia, Belgium came out on tops for getting the most sleep. Respect to Finland for having the most active users and also the users that got the most sleep. The Finns were also the only ones sleeping more than seven hours a night on average. Impressive!
You sport freaks mix it up
In 2020, the average number of different activity types per user was 4,2. This means an average Suunto user enjoys more than four different sports, with running the most popular.
On average, our users tracked 66.5 total workouts of any given type during 2020.
When things get tough, conventional wisdom says to take a nice, long walk. Somehow Suunto users must have got the memo because there was a massive 70% increase in that activity among our users. What does this tell us? It could be that because so many of us were doing home office we found more time to take walks. Maybe with family at home, too, we took more walks together. Whatever the reasons, it can only be a good thing.
Read our articles on walking:
Hiking amongst our users also had a big increase, by 37%. Mountain biking increased by nearly 20%. Unsurprisingly, there was a big increase in indoor cycling.
Swimming drops off
With pools closed, swimming dropped off with our users. Even with vaccinations available, this trend will probably continue into 2021. Our solution? We recommend you triathletes and swimmers pivot to open and cold water swimming. Read our articles on how to do them safely.
Put your fins together for the divers! Landlocked lockdowns didn’t stop our community of explorers from venturing underwater with an average of 15.5 m depth for divers and 6 m for freedivers.
In a year of backyard adventures when divers explored what treasures their local sites have to offer, August was the busiest month on record.
Lead image: © Philipp Reiter