Moving Beyond a Global Pandemic: 2022 Garmin Fitness Insights

Even though daily routines changed, Garmin customers found a way to stay the course.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — time for the year-end Garmin Connect™ fitness report, that is. (What, were you thinking it’s time for something else? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered on the holiday front too.) It seems that December is often a time for self-reflection, and at Garmin, we’re no different. We’re not looking at what we did, though; we’re more interested in your highlight reel.

At a very high level, Garmin Connect data looks like most other years — with the number of activities logged in every major category, including running and cycling, up considerably. But a deeper look at the data tells another story about the dedication and commitment of Garmin customers around the globe. With presumably less time for morning runs and lunchtime walks near the home office, we found within the data a return to pre-pandemic fitness habits — with strong growth in indoor activities that can’t be performed at home, including indoor swimming, rock climbing and gym-based activities such as HIIT workouts. Meanwhile, home-based workouts such as yoga and indoor cycling, both of which spiked during the pandemic, appear to have stabilized.

And so without further ado, here are the activities that you all truly couldn’t get enough of in 2022.

For the Gym Buffs:

Strength training activities were up 20% over 2021, which is especially impressive given that, for a lot of people, 2022 was the year you went back into the office on a more regular basis following the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Somehow you still found the time to pound that iron. (We hope you’re getting your protein in.)

2022 was also the first full year with the Garmin HIIT activity profile available on compatible watches. Since it was introduced midyear in 2021, it’s not quite fair to give percentage changes there, but suffice it to say that you all love that HIIT feature.

Looking for a workout to try? Garmin ambassador Baylee Rayl walked us through a few sample HIIT workouts in an earlier blog post.

For the Cyclists:

Serious cyclists typically keep Garmin on their radar, so it was no surprise that activities logged were up across the board. But what’s noteworthy is which types of cycling are really taking off. As it turns out, you roadies and gravel grinders are really hitting it hard. Road biking percentages were up 8%, and gravel cyclists completed an astounding 40% more activities than they did in 2021. Taking advantage of the breakthrough solar charging on the Edge® 1040 Solar, perhaps?

In other big Edge-related news, we announced compatibility with eBikes, complete with electric bike-specific metrics such as remaining battery life and how long you can keep riding before you need to seek out a charging port. Tech Radar dubbed it “a perfect marriage of Garmin’s fitness and transportation areas of expertise.” Aww, shucks.

For the Runners:

Regardless of what else is happening — like returning to the office and spending that morning workout time on the road instead — Garmin users will find a way to sneak in a run. So we really shouldn’t be surprised that treadmill running activities increased by 13% and indoor running activities were up 17% this year. Whether you’re a seasoned vet with a Forerunner® 955 Solar,  or you’re dipping your toes into the running world with the Forerunner® 55, you can use your Garmin smartwatch to track just about any kind of run you go on. The smarter you train, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.

That’s not to say everybody stayed inside, though. Track running percentages more than doubled, which is fun to see as we continue to work directly with more track and cross-country teams to ensure young athletes are equipped with the tools to succeed.

For the Triathletes:

The return to normalcy — or at least some version of it — brought the return of in-person triathlons and the accompanying thrill of real-life competition. (Perhaps it also brought the feel of the ocean breeze if you happened to be in Kona in October?) Garmin triathlete watches come equipped with a multisport profile, sport transition capability, pool swim data tracking, real-time stamina, compatibility with Edge® cycling computers and much, much more — all of which contribute to helping you succeed as you run, bike and swim your way to your next personal best. The fēnix® 7 – Solar Edition even yields up to 22 days of battery life in smartwatch mode with solar charging — good luck outperforming that.

For the Wellness Gurus:

Garmin has long been known for its community of dedicated runners, cyclists and triathletes but with so many activity profiles available on Garmin smartwatches, our products are perfect for people at every fitness level. (It’s OK if, as a super random and not at all specific example, you like to read and write blogs as opposed to running triathlons.) And if you are an intense athlete, it’s also a good idea to switch things up every once in a while for optimal training. Garmin users increased activity counts in a variety of more wellness-oriented activities this year, including elliptical (up 15%), stair climbing (up 24%), Pilates (up 38%) and breathwork (up 28%).

New to the Garmin features lineup is the Health Snapshot feature. With the capability to capture, save and even share a collection of key health-related insights recorded during a two-minute session, Garmin smartwatches are going even further to help you get a more complete picture of your overall health and fitness status.

Interested in learning more about Garmin wellness data insights? Check out some other reports we’ve done this year, including “Catching Z’s: New Data Shows How Well Garmin Users Are Sleeping” and “Garmin Users with Higher Activity Levels Have Lower Resting Heart Rates.

For the Swimmers:

Did you know you don’t have to worry about getting a Garmin smartwatch wet? A lot of you do, it seems. Lap swimming activities were up 34% in 2022, and swimming was up 13%. Whether your jam is the pool at your local gym or the flexibility of the open water, using the personalized data on your compatible watch can help improve both your form and your times. And for those of you who are swimming in preparation for a triathlon, we’ve got the data that can help with that too.

For the Divers:

Whether you’re diving for sunken treasure or working toward your PADI certification, every diver needs to know their limits so they can safely return to the surface. Enter diving with Garmin — with the Descent™ Mk2i watch-style dive computer on your wrist and the compatible Descent™ T1 Transmitter with SubWave™ sonar technology, you’ll know your depth, tank pressure, remaining air time and air consumption rate at all times, as well as those of up to four diving companions1. With six dive modes to choose from, single gas diving is the most popular and saw the most growth in 2022, up 76%.

For the Climbers:

Climbing activity levels reached new heights in 2022. (We’re sorry; we couldn’t resist.) Rock climbing activities increased by 17%, with Western Europe leading the pack with 32% more rock climbing activities than last year. North Americans logged 18.55% more activities.

For the Water Lovers:

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the great thing about Garmin is that we’ve got a watch for everyone — and that includes seafarers. The quatix® 7, for example, comes equipped with just about every feature you’d want on a boat, including comprehensive connectivity with compatible Garmin chartplotters, autopilot control, waypoint marking, Garmin SailAssist™ and more. And the Instinct® 2 – Surf Edition is (clearly) purpose-built for surfers, with tide data, Surfline® compatibility, and specific activity profiles for surfing, kiteboarding and windsurfing.

Given all of that, it’s no wonder Garmin users are getting out on the water more. Global sailing activity percentages rose by 39%, followed by surfing at 35% and boating at 13%.

For the Winter Sports Enthusiasts:

For our winter sports enthusiasts, get ready — it’s almost your time to shine. You all went wild when resorts opened back up in the early winter months of 2022, with resort skiing and snowboarding activities up 143%. But more pandemic-friendly activities continued to trend up as well, with 14% more skate skiing activities logged and 7% more backcountry skiing and snowboarding. We’re glad to see you getting out there, but might we suggest an inReach® satellite communicator2 for these expeditions? If nothing else, your ability to hit the SOS button and call Garmin Response℠  for help regardless of cell service will give your loved ones (and us) some peace of mind. 

For the Gamers:

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got our gamers — those of you whose playing field is virtual rather than in a gym or the great outdoors. When it comes to gaming, a champion plays with the Instinct® – Esports Edition. Not only is it critical for players to analyze their body metrics, such as heart rate, stress tracking, Body Battery™ energy monitoring and sleep3, but the purpose-built watch is also compatible with STR3AMUP!™ to broadcast your stress level and heart rate to game streams. And of course, it comes with a dedicated esports activity profile, which we’re guessing a few of you used when you logged 35% more esports activities in 2022 than you did in 2021. Game on.

So there you have it, Garmin fans. You continue to beat yesterday — or in this case, yesteryear — as you venture out and put the technology we build to good use. We can’t wait to see you hit new goals in 2023, and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves (or on our wrists) as well. Until then, have a safe holiday season and a happy new year — you’ve earned it.  

1Additional equipment (sold separately) and device pairing required

2Active satellite subscription required. Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communication devices. It is the responsibility of the user to know and follow all applicable laws in the jurisdictions where the device is intended to be used.