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Strava, the world’s largest sports participation platform with over 44 million members and a million more joining every 30 days, recently launched ‘The Escape Plan’, a four-week challenge to be active at least five times per week.

According to the company’s data, high-frequency and low intensity exercise can help people to form lasting exercise habits and stay active over time, especially when athletes vary their activity types.

“Staying motivated is the largest and oldest barrier in health and wellness. People are busier than ever and screen time is eclipsing moving time,” said James Quarles, Strava CEO.

Strava’s data also shows that regular activity habits, specifically a higher volume of weekly uploads, is associated with staying active over a longer period of time.

Athletes who upload an average of five times a week have twice as many active weeks over the course of a year as opposed to those who upload twice a week.

Having a wide range of activities is also associated with staying active over a longer period of time. For example, athletes who pursue two different sport types per week have twice as many active weeks over the course of a year as single-sport athletes. Also, people keep people active and the accountability that comes with joining a challenge and the support of the Strava community can help people keep moving.

According to Strava, for runners who ran the same race two years in a row, all runners who improved their time did fewer training runs at their marathon pace when training for year two’s race.

For example, marathoners with finishing times under four hours who improved did only 25 per cent of their training runs at marathon pace, whereas these runners in the previous year did 43 per cent of their runs at marathon pace.

Strava data also shows that runners who improved were more likely to have increased their time doing non-running activities compared to the previous year.

Strava developed its new multi-sport Challenge format to be more accessible to more athletes by including all 32 of its supported sport types. As long as athletes log at least 15 minutes of any supported sport type, they will get credit for that day’s challenge activity requirement.

“The Escape Plan Challenge is designed to inspire people to put their phones down, declare a simple goal and create better habits,” said the Strava CEO.

Until now, Strava’s Challenges have been single-sport endeavours, like monthly running distance challenges or cycling climbing challenges.

Join The Escape Plan here