THE coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has undoubtedly affected how people do their affairs, including in engaging in physical activities.

In data shared by global wearables brand Fitbit, as the battle against COVID-19 rages on, physical activity levels worldwide as seen from its 30 million active users have slowed down.

As countries adapt to social distancing and community quarantines in light of COVID-19, countries studied by Fitbit experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count, compared to that of the same time in the previous year.

In coming up with their numbers, Fitbit data scientists established a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area by analyzing the activity of millions of Fitbit users with similar characteristics during the same week from the previous year.

The result showed much decline, with the United States, for instance, during the week of March 22, seeing a 12% decline in step count.

In the Philippines, the slowdown was pegged at a bigger drop of 27% with the entire island of Luzon put on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to stop the spread of COVID-19. Other parts of the country then followed suit.

Under ECQ, people are asked to stay at home and limit movement outside so as not to increase the chances of developing the disease.

The Fitbit data also showed that in countries like China and Hong Kong, which were the first to face COVID-19, the deviation from normal activity for this time last year occurred much earlier in the year when they were in the thick of the battle against the disease.

Numbers in said countries have steadily been improving with step counts on the rise anew as they try to get back to normalcy.

While the decline in physical activity is to be expected considering the situation the world is in with COVID-19 and concentrating on health and fitness is a challenge, Fitbit still underscored the need for people to be on top of things as far their health goes.

It has offered some tips to assist individuals, particularly Fitbit users, during these tough times.

Fitbit said maintaining healthy habits like drinking lots of water and eating nutritious food would go a long way as well taking mental health breaks.

Submitting to various programs including those offered on Fitbit Premium should help as well as these would jolt them to move and work out.

Supporting each other by way of the Fitbit Challenges where one can start friendly competitions with friends and family would be a big boost as well.

In the Philippines, Fitbit has steadily grown its presence, riding eagerly on its mission of making health and fitness accessible to more consumers with new and innovative products. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo