According to Garmin, the workout trends of 2021 were yoga, pilates – and lots of mud

Woman trail running in the mountains
(Image credit: Garmin)
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Home workouts are here to stay – particularly yoga and pilates – but when we exercise outdoors, we’re increasingly willing to get soaked in mud. Those are the findings from the 2021 Garmin Connect Fitness report (opens in new tab), which looks at trends in the various activities logged using its watches.

Garmin wearers logged more activities last year than ever before, but what’s really interesting is the type of workouts that were tracked.

We’ve been turning to home workouts over the last two years as gyms closed their doors, in-person events were cancelled, and countries went into lockdown. Even when things began to return to normal, many of us chose to play it safe and exercise in our living rooms.

The launch of Apple Fitness Plus in December 2020, plus advanced home exercise equipment like the Hydrow smart rowing machine made it easier to work up a sweat without leaving the house, but according to Garmin’s report, the indoor workouts that increased most in popularity were yoga and Pilates.

Man and woman at home stretching on yoga mats

(Image credit: Garmin)

The number of yoga sessions tracked by Garmin wearers increased by 45.55%, while Pilates sessions more than doubled, increasing by 108.3%. This might be partly down to the fact that several of the company’s latest watches, including the Garmin Venu 2, allow wearers to follow along with animated on-screen workouts.

Hitting the trails

When we do head outdoors though, it seems like we’re starting to get more adventurous, straying away from well-worn roads and developing a taste for mud. Garmin wearers logged 11.58% more trail running activities in 2021 than 2020, and 49.55% more gravel cycling sessions.

Cycling surged in popularity last year as people looked for a new way to get outdoors in the fresh air, and stores struggled to meet demand for both conventional and electric bikes. In the UK, retailers reported that sales were up 40% compared to the previous year.

It’s interesting that it wasn’t just casual weekend cruises, though. Gravel biking is a bridge between road cycling and mountain biking that covers both types of terrain, and this (together with the boost in trail running) suggests that we might be getting more adventurous with our cardio. It'll be interesting to see whether these trends continue in 2022, and if sports like ultra running and mountain biking start to pick up as well.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)