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It's too cold to exercise, in 2 charts

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

It's been a very, very cold week just about everywhere in the US. And if the lower temperatures make you want to hunker down, wrap up in a blanket, and definitely not move any more than you absolutely have to — well, fitness-tracker company Jawbone is here to reassure you that you're not alone.

Jawbone chart of weekend exercise


The company released average steps for its users and classified them by the day of week, time of day, and temperature. The darker the bars, the more steps people are taking, on average, at that time of day. (The version on Jawbone's website is interactive, so you can see how many steps each bar represents.)

On the weekends, people move around about 15 percent more when it's 70 degrees outside than at the same time on a weekend day when it's 40 degrees. You can see from the darker bars that steps pick up once it's around 45.

On the weekdays, though, even if it's frigid outside, people still have to commute — but you might be less likely to take a long walk at lunch. That shows up in Jawbone's data too:

Jawbone chart of weekday exercise


Unfortunately, the charts start at 7 am and stop at 7 pm. That means it's hard to tell if the most devoted exercisers, people who go for runs or to the gym early in the morning or later in the evening, are managing to persevere despite the cold.

(Hat tip to The Atlantic's Olga Khazan, who spotted the Jawbone charts first.)

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