Intensity Minute Data Sheds Light on Fitness Habits

Garmin users are intense — and we’ve got the data to prove it.

Garmin smartwatches come packed to the brim with features dedicated to helping you take a more intentional approach to your health and wellness. One such feature is intensity minute tracking, designed to help you monitor your physical activity each week. Below we outline everything you need to know about intensity minutes — what they are, how many you should be logging and how you compare with your peers on the Garmin Connect™ app.

What is an intensity minute?

An intensity minute is a 60-second time period spent in either moderate or vigorous physical activity. Based on the recommendation by most health organisations that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week — or 75 ­minutes of vigorously intense physical activity — your compatible Garmin smartwatch tracks the intensity minutes of that activity. You can check in on both your daily and weekly progress toward that goal on your wrist or in the Garmin Connect app.

How are intensity minutes calculated?

Your compatible Garmin smartwatch will determine how many minutes are spent in intense physical activity by comparing your current heart rate to your average resting heart rate or the number of steps taken per minute. So the number of ways to earn intensity minutes are virtually endless. You can earn them once your watch detects a brisk walk or run, or you can earn them if your heart rate increases while carrying in a heavy load of groceries.

It’s all about what’s more intense for you specifically. And because it’s all tailored to you, the number you see on your wrist is a more valuable measurement than simply knowing you scheduled a certain number of workouts during your lunch breaks for the week.

If you’re a junkie for heart rate zone data, you can also change the settings on select watches to track intensity minutes based on your heart rate zone preferences. If, for example, you aren’t interested in tracking a heart rate increase while carrying in those groceries, you can choose which heart rate zones must be met to achieve both moderate and vigorous intensity minutes. Click the following link to learn more about how to customise your intensity minutes based on heart rate zones.

So when are most Garmin users earning intensity minutes?

We thought you’d never ask. It probably comes as no surprise that, at Garmin, we’re suckers for a good set of data. And while we’d never be able to account for all the ways in which Garmin users earn their intensity minutes accurately — like we said, the possibilities are almost endless — we do think it’s valuable to look at when you all are the most active.

Intensity Minutes by Day of the Week

Average Intensity Minutes by Day of Week

No surprises here — Garmin users get their most intense exercise in on the weekends. It’s easier to put in the work in the gym — or on the trail, the sidewalk, the water, the gravel road, etc. — when you’re not restricted to breaks in-between meetings. Garmin users are most active on Saturdays, followed closely by Sundays.

Following that train of logic, it’s also not surprising that Mondays are the least intense days of the week, at least as far as physical activity goes. Interestingly, though, Fridays aren’t much more active than Mondays, indicating that maybe a good portion of you choose to kick back and relax after a long workweek instead of opting to get sweaty.

Intensity Minutes by Month

Intensity Minutes Per Day by Month

There don’t appear to be many surprises among the data that displays which months Garmin users are logging the most intensity minutes either — it largely aligns with the temperate seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. Garmin users love to get outdoors, but might we remind you that we have plenty of ways to support being active inside too? Take our indoor bike trainers, for example, or our built-in HIIT workouts on compatible watches. Moving your body can be a great way to stave off the seasonal depression that can sometimes accompany the colder, cloudier months.

Top 10 Locales

Average Weekly Intensity Minutes Per Person By Locale

Garmin users live all over the world, and you’re a competitive bunch. While intensity minutes can vary greatly based on the individual person earning them (and their lifestyle), the above locales consistently put in the work in 2023. Brazilians are clearly an intense bunch, topping out the list at 297.5 average weekly intensity minutes. The U.S., you’ll notice, is nowhere to be found — at a weekly average of 257.2 intensity minutes, we simply didn’t make the cut. Time to kick it in gear in 2024, Americans.

Compare Your Personal Intensity Minute Data

Curious where you fall in with your peers? To look back at your own personal intensity minute patterns, open your Garmin Connect app. You can review your patterns throughout the past day, week, month and year, as well as find your own average weekly number for the past year from today. How do your intensity minutes stack up? Need to boost your workouts this year to compete with your peers? We can help with that. Don’t have a Garmin smartwatch that tracks intensity minutes? We can help with that too.