How do our activity levels shift throughout the seasons?

How do our activity levels shift throughout the seasons?

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Our four part article series about different activity levels has come to a close. In this final article, we will take a closer look at how activity levels are influenced by the changing seasons.

Summer is the season to go for a walk

As expected, people are most active in the summer months. The chart below explains the daily averages of steps divided by each season.
The seasonal ranking of steps in the different seasons is:

  • #1 : Summer is the most active season, with a total of 7,053 daily steps.
  • #2 : Spring is the second most active with an average of 6,843 daily steps.
  • #3 : Interestingly enough, people are more active in the winter than the fall, with an average of 6,656 steps.
  • #4 : Fall is the least active season (by a margin of 115 steps) coming in with an average of 6,541 steps per day.

The high activity levels we see in the summer should come as no surprise, as we tend to walk much more in the warmer months. People often take extra walks throughout the day to catch some extra rays, and the health benefits of increased activity levels are numerous!

Spring’s second place ranking is to be expected, as people have finally survived a hard winter and are eager to spend time outdoors once again.
That winter is ahead of fall in the rankings is worth examining. A potential explanation can be attributed to New Year’s Resolutions. In the new year, many people choose to make health and fitness related resolutions, promising to go to the gym four times a week, or cutting out the afternoon candy bar. This extra push of motivation could explain why we see higher activity level in the colder season. Additionally, the transition from winter to spring is much more encouraging than from summer to fall. After surviving a cold winter, a slight increase in temperature elicits a desire to bring out the latest in spring fashion and spend as much time as possible outside. As the summer nights turn colder with the arrival of fall, the opposite is true. Extra layers are added and the desire to spend every free second soaking up the sun begins to dwindle.

The differences in activity levels are most visible in the evening

The chart above examines the hourly differences in activity levels throughout the changing seasons.
From this graph we observe:
• Earlier in the day, the activity levels differences between the seasons are almost nonexistent.
• By late morning, people walk more in the spring-summer than autumn-winter
• At noon, we again see that the season does not influence the level of activity. No matter what the season is, people must take a break to find lunch, explaining the midday peak.
• In the afternoon and evening, we see the major differences between the seasons. While the commute to work and grabbing lunch seem to be standard activities, seasonality seems to play a larger role on the types of activities people participate in after work. In warmer months the motivation to go out is much higher.

Conlusion

This study confirms that our lifestyles are influences by the changing seasons. This is not particularly surprising as it is much more enjoyable to be active outside when it is not rainy or cold. Though it’s harder to be outside in the colder months, it’s important to always get as close 10,000 steps per day, as you can. Joining a gym or signing up for a fitness classes with a friend may be a great solution to next year’s winter.

In case you missed any of the articles in this activity series, you can check them out here!
How does the city you live in impact your activity levels?
Our pace of life changes as we age
Steps data and country lifestyles

About data

This study was conducted with a panel of users Withings products. Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protecting the privacy of its users, which is why all the data used for this study was carefully anonymized and aggregated.


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