Outdoor physical activity (Australian Capital Territory)
The current section reports on the change in selected outdoor physical activity recorded within the Australian Capital Territory between the 2019–20 bushfire season, and the corresponding weeks in the previous year (i.e. 2018–19), based on activity tracking data. It should be noted that activity tracking data may not give a comprehensive picture of the impact of bushfire smoke pollution on outdoor activity, as people can exercise without actively tracking and uploading their sessions. Additionally, during times of bushfire smoke, people might have performed more of their physical activity sessions indoors.
The information presented in this section are based on AIHW analysis of aggregated and de-identified data provided by Strava, through their Strava Metro platform. Strava technology enables users to track, upload and share physical activity trips, such as rides (bicycling) or runs, via a smartphone app or GPS-enabled hardware. Worldwide, Strava has over 85 million users and there are 40 million activities are uploaded to Strava each week. This data forms the basis for the Strava Metro platform which allows partner organisations to analyse aggregated and de-identified data, usually for the purposes of improving active transport infrastructure. This data only includes recorded sessions from users who have made their uploads public, and excludes those whose activities are set to private or choose to opt-out of their activity being used for research purposes. For more information on Strava Metro, see Technical notes.
From the beginning of September 2019, until mid-December 2019, there was a general increase in the number of trips recorded by runners, walkers, or hikers, and riders, in comparison to the same weeks in the previous year. However, trips within the Australian Capital Territory, recorded by Strava users, generally decreased between mid-December 2019 and the end of January 2020. The greatest decreases in the number of trips recorded was:
- 64% in the week beginning 30 December 2019 for runners, walkers, or hikers, compared with the same week in the previous year
- 68% in the week beginning 30 December 2019 for riders, compared with the same week in the previous year.
This decrease corresponded with the increased air pollution from the 2019–20 bushfires.
To explore data by activity type, see the interactive data visualisation below (for data tables see Supplementary table S7).
Change (%) in the number of trips uploaded by Strava users, by week and activity type, Australian Capital Territory, 2019–20 bushfire season relative to the previous year
This chart shows the percentage change in riding and running, walking or hiking activities uploaded by Strava users in the Australian Capital Territory for the periods 2019–20 and 2018–19. Data are presented by activity type, and by week roughly in alignment with the bushfire season. The chart shows that, compared with the previous year, trips within the Australian Capital Territory, recorded by Strava users, generally decreased between mid-December 2019 and the end of January 2020. This decrease corresponded with the increased air pollution from the 2019–20 bushfires.
It should be noted that the change (%) in the number of recorded trips doesn’t account for changes in the number of Strava users, or other seasonal effects that may have occurred between the 2 periods, and should be considered with caution.