Data Confirms COVID-19 Led to Increase in Outdoor Recreation

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Outdoor recreation isn’t just for enthusiasts; nature, sunlight, and exercise are beneficial for everyone. Many studies have linked time outside to stress relief, increased cognitive function, better mood, as well as greater socialization(1). In times of crisis or disaster, it can also play a pivotal role in helping people cope. Over the past two years, outdoor recreation participation has increased amidst the COVID pandemic.

Outdoor Recreation Trends

In 2019, the Outdoor Recreation Economy accounted for 2.1% ($459.8 billion) of the United States’ GDP, and it included three general categories:

  • conventional activities (e.g., bicycling, boating, hiking, and hunting)
  • other core activities (e.g., gardening and outdoor concerts)
  • supporting activities (e.g., travel and tourism, local trips and government expenditures)(2)

Travel and tourism came to a screeching halt in 2020 while communities across the nation essentially shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, many people turned to nature for solace, connection, and safer socialization. In fact, 53 percent of Americans (160.7 million people) ages 6 and over participated in outdoor recreation at least once, the highest participation rate on record(3).

Source: Outdoor Foundation

The 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report measured trends for five activity segments (team, fitness, outdoor, individual and racquet) from 2019-2020. Of those segments, outdoor recreation activities saw the lowest impact due to COVID shutdowns(4). In some cases, certain activities saw increased participation. Here are a few examples from the report:

  • Camping participation added 7.9 million participants in 2020 (up 28%)
  • 8.1 million more Americans hiked in 2020 versus 2019 (up more than 16%)
  • Freshwater fishing added 3.4 million participants in 2020, (up almost 9%)(5)

Benefits of More Time Outdoors

The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Social distancing (remaining at least six feet apart) helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus while talking, coughing, speaking, breathing, or sneezing. When indoors, there is a greater risk of the virus staying in the air up to hours at a time, especially if there is poor ventilation. One additional benefit of spending more time outdoors is that fresh air is constantly moving, That means you’re less likely to breathe in respiratory droplets and contract COVID-19.

The Boom in Water Sports Despite the Pandemic

In addition to camping and hiking, water sports have seen an upsurge like never before while people look for more ways to have fun, relax, and socialize safely. Demand for boat licenses and registrations have increased, marinas are at full capacity, and inventory for water sports are backlogged all over the globe. This is directly in line with what we have seen at Kymera, as the demand for the Kymera Body Board has continued to grow – despite COVID, and in some cases even the season. We have repeatedly seen our board sell out and go on back-order, which has prompted people all over the U.S. to secure their spot in line with deposits for the next season while we catch up with inventory.

As of November 1, 2021,  our backlog is 12 weeks, so if you are thinking about getting your own  Kymera Body Board for the 2022 summer season, consider purchasing between now and the end of December to ensure delivery in by April 2022.

References

  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
  2. https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/outdoor-recreation-satellite-account-us-and-states-2019
  3. https://outdoorindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2021-Outdoor-Participation-Trends-Report.pdf
  4. https://outdoorindustry.org/article/increase-outdoor-activities-due-covid-19/