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This is how much Glasgow Uni students are actually exercising during lockdown

Is Strava just a social phenomenon?

Glasgow has a reputation, and despite hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it’s not for having to dodge joggers as you go out to collect your groceries.  Glasgow is one of the least healthy cities in Europe, so it was surprising to hear the increased use of fitness apps and the exponential up-curve on STRAVA as people wake up from the pandemic.

With gyms still being shut and the summer with us, the collective conscience has stirred Glaswegians into action.  The rush to get outdoors and do more exercise before a possible second lockdown is almost palpable. 

We wanted to know if Glasgow’s students were getting out there to do more exercise and better understand if this is just a social phenomenon.


STRAVA is basically Facebook for active cyclists, swimmers, and mainly runners. With government guidelines easing and with more people allowed outdoors, STRAVA downloads and running club participation have seen unprecedented records.

On our Instagram poll, we asked our students: Did you download STRAVA during the pandemic?

Our results showed that 117 students had downloaded the fitness app during COVID-19, however, 112 students said no. STRAVA was already an extremely popular app before lockdown and with gyms being closed now for over three months, it was natural for many of us to take up outdoor exercising.

According to research, the gym is a hotbed for coronavirus, so I won’t be returning anytime soon. Such a shame.


The rental bike app, Nextbike, revealed data indicating that 17,000 Glaswegians registered last month alone. This powerful statistic got us thinking: how many students have really downloaded this app? For real? 

It turns out only 22 students have downloaded Nextbike during the pandemic. It is not as universally well-known as the app STRAVA, so naturally, I wasn’t too surprised. It costs around £1 an hour to rent a bike and Glasgow currently has 650 standard bikes and 63 e-bikes, with 79 standard stations and 21 electric stations across the city.

My guess is that Glaswegian families and key workers are the ones behind the surge in Glasgow rental bike usage. As the youth of today, many of us don’t tend to do that much exercise outside university life. This is currently our worst summer ever and most of us just want to go to the pub.


It is safe to say that many of us have been jumping on the bandwagon and downloading STRAVA to see what the fuss is all about. The app almost makes FitBits look pointless since it monitors your pace, distance, and incline all at the same time for free.

For many of us, exercise is extremely important for looking after our mental wellbeing, and during this period, it’s more vital than ever. Staying active, even if that means working out from home, can help fight the symptoms of mental illnesses. There you have it.

Yes, the app STRAVA has become a social phenomenon, but if it does endure and have a positive impact on the collective health of Glaswegians, then maybe something good has happened during this strange period.