All posts by tkorman

Running a thousand and one miles for inclusion, love and openness

In the middle of August I will set off on a journey that will take me across Iran, more than 2000 kilometers, on foot from Bazargan, on the Iranian border towards Turkey, to Sarakhs, on the Iranian border towards Turkmenistan. The route will take me along the Silk road and the adventure is named ”Thousand and one miles” after the fairy tale.

I will the first person to attempt to make this crossing and I will do it alone. I plan to run about 35 kilometers per day and the journey will take me nearly three months – allowing plenty of time for meeting people and experiencing the culture along the way.

It took me a while to figure out why I so strongly wanted to do this trip. It was something echoing inside, demanding that I do it.

Running is of course about enjoying beautiful nature and meeting friendly people; there will be plenty of both in Iran. But surely there are easier ways to enjoy beautiful countryside and meet friendly people than running, as a single woman, through a Muslim country with sharia laws. Why? What did I want to prove?

Eventually I realised that it is about fear and about love. It is about the way I want our society and our world to be. I want it to be based on love. Today I see that fear is ruling parts of how we live our lives and how we build our world and societies. I see xenophobic political parties growing in popularity, in Sweden and elsewhere. I want to challenge my own fears and prejudices as well as those of the world around me.

It might not be possible to change the world by running but perhaps I could change myself, the people I meet and inspire a seed of change in those who hear about my run? At least it is worth a try.

By doing this trip, I hope to bring people closer to each other, and to contribute to a more tolerant, peaceful and loving world.

I want love to be the basis of all Life; I think that is why we are born and why we are here.

Kristina Paltén is a Swedish adventurer and ultra-runner. She has previously ran from Turkey to Finland, completing the journey home to Sweden by kayaking across the Bay of Botnia and she is the currently world record holder of the longest distanced covered in 48 hours on a treadmill.

Greater Manchester – a local #BeActive success story

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, EVERYONE has a role to play in building a more active Europe. Today, let’s discuss what cities can do to support and encourage #BeActive residents.

Let’s have a look at Manchester, in the UK. In January, 2014 Manchester was dubbed “the laziest city in Britain” with 40% of its residents doing less than half an hour of exercise a month! When you consider the fact that the WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week, it is clear Manchester’s population was in trouble. However, instead of standing by and continuing to contribute to the inactivity crisis, the city had already been developing a plan to get people moving again, through the “Greater Manchester Moving” campaign. As part of the city’s effort to become one of the “fastest growing self-sustainable city regions by 2020”, it recognised the impact that inactivity posed to the health and life expectancy of its citizens and its economy.

They offered opportunities to city dwellers to run and cycle by creating more active and sustainable environments and promoting them. They developed programs for everyone – from children to seniors. A good example is their BetterbyCycle programme which aims to deliver cycle training, recreational cycling, mass participation events, awareness campaigns and capacity building within inactive communities, workplaces and schools!

Quite impressive, right? These are the types of initiatives that decision-makers can support to encourage residents to get moving.

Does your city have a #BeActive success story? We’d love to hear how your local authorities and decision-makers have helped provide you with more opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity.

We’re extending our photo challenge! Win great prizes!

We asked you to help us get Europeans moving. Over the past months more than 250 of online users responded to our #MyWeek #BeActive photo-video competition by posting inspiring photos and videos on their social media channels. Internet has been flooded with amazing photos throughout our challenge! If you haven’t joined, but feel like joining, it’s not too late (check the guidelines here).

Thank you for spreading the love for physical activity with others and sharing your activities so openly. We appreciate you. Therefore, we decided to post some honorable mentions. Make sure to peek at each feed for their individual #MyWeek #BeActive photos.

So you’re thinking about joining? The rules are simple: post 3 videos or photos while doing some physical activity and win some prizes on the way. The idea behind it is to get you to #BeActive, so grab your camera, phone or tablet and take a photo of yourself engaged in each of your physical activities. Engage by following these guidelines. Spread the word and challenge your friends. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The economic value of sport

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It’s been a while since we’ve shared an infographic on the blog, hasn’t it?

How about one about a topic we’ve only briefly touched on in discussing the many benefits of sport?

And it goes so much further than just these numbers: Recent projections show that the lack of physical activity in Europe can cost over €31bn per year. Indeed, according to another study, the economic burden of obesity in the EU amounts to between 0.09% and 0.61% of the total GDP.

While these are just estimates, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible effect it would have on our economy to encourage all Europeans to #BeActive. Imagine that!

So let’s all do our part. Join the movement. #BeActive

The truth: Physical inactivity levels in Europe vary drastically by country

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Some of the interesting, and concerning information that came out of the 2014 Eurobarometer report on sport and physical activity revealed how active people were in different European countries. Overall, 42% of Europeans never exercise or play sport, but when you break it down by country or region – that percentage can varies greatly.

For example, the proportion of people who exercise or play sport at least once a week is 70% in Sweden, 68%in Denmark and 66% in Finland. On the other hand, Bulgaria (78%) and Malta (75%) have the largest proportions of people who never exercise or play sport at all. Portugal (64%), Romania (60%), and Italy (60%) also have concerning levels of people never engaging in any form of sport or exercise.

From policy makers to ministries of education, labour etc., from parents to students, from city planners to community leaders – we all have a role to play.

In Finland for example, where they consider physical activity to be a basic cultural right, 73% of Finns are happy with how much their local authorities are doing to enough to provide citizens with opportunities to be physically active, and 66% of Finns exercise or play sport at least once a week.

As individuals, there are so many ways to get started (we’ve gathered some here, here, and here). Don’t forget to have a look at the map on our website to see what events and activities are happening around the European Week of Sport near you.

Join us and help transform Europe into a #BeActive society that values sport and physical activity and the many benefits it provides us.

If you’re curious to know the statistics for your country, let us know, we’ve got an infographic for every European country – and we’re happy to share!

http://ec.europa.eu/sport/week/media-corner_en.htm

4 must-try ways to #BeActive with your dog

Oh how we love our dogs! Since we are always looking for fun ways to #BeActive, how about these four that involve man’s best friend:

  • Play catch: head to the park or a local beach with a Frisbee or a ball and have some fun playing catch with your happy dog. Both of you will enjoy and benefit from the exercise!
  • Go hiking: why not enjoy a little nature getaway with your favourite buddy? Check first to make sure dogs are allowed and plan a trek for the both of you!
  • Go swimming: Most dogs love water! Take your pup to a beach, lake or pool, and join in the fun!
  • Doga’, or Doggy Yoga: This new trend gives a new meaning to ‘downward facing dog’. Classes help you bond with your dog while providing them with the same health benefits you gain. What’s not to love?

And because who doesn’t like a puppy video, click here for some more inspiration.

Being active with your best buddy is fun, easy and a great bonding experience! So… what are you waiting for! #BeActive

 

 

5 tips to stay motivated: #BeActive

We’ve all been there: Hitting a slump in your exercise routine can make it hard to stick to your physical activity objectives, even if you’re fully aware of all the benefits you’ll be getting out of it. Here are our top five ways to help you stay motivated:

Mix it up: Change your routine, take different classes, try new activities – whatever you do, don’t let yourself fall into a rut, where you find yourself bored with exercise. There are so many ways to #BeActive.

Set goals: Goals are a great way to motivate yourself and there is nothing better than accomplishing them – but make sure they are realistic, and include milestones into your plan.

Get a little help from a friend: An exercise buddy can help steer you in the right direction when you are feeling lazy or ready to give up. Remember, being active can also be social, walking with a friend, or hitting the gym together is a terrific way to bond while reaping the benefits.

Find your own routine: Break up your physical activity into 10-20 minute bursts if you don’t have time to exercise for a full hour. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t try to force yourself to hit the gym before work. There are so many ways to #BeActive – it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you and sticking with it.

Track your progress: Keep a fitness journal or use one of the many apps or gadgets that help track activity. It’s a great way to make sure you are reaching your objectives – and it’s a great feeling to see what you’ve achieved.

There you have it, the rest is up to you! Have fun and #BeActive.

Find your way: a map of #BeActive events and activities

Did you know there are activities taking place throughout Europe in September that are part of the European Week of Sport?

We’ve developed a map of these events and activities on our website to help you find one near you.

It’s being regularly updated, so don’t forget to check back as we get closer to September to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The European Week of Sport aims to build a more active Europe, but we can’t do it without you. We hope that you’ll encourage your friends and family to join you in one of the many available activities.

Pssst! You don’t have to wait until September to get active, there’s still time for you to join the #MyWeek #BeActive Challenge and win prizes.

Physical activity and older Europeans

It turns out that the frequency of physical activity amongst Europeans tends to decrease with age. The 2014 Eurobarometer survey on Sport and Physical Activity indicated that a majority of 15-24 year olds (64%) exercise or play sport at least once a week. However, this number drops to a disturbing 30% for the 55+ age group.

While this disparity may seem to make sense – as we do tend to associate physical activity with younger people – this is in fact a major problem. By 2020, a quarter of Europeans will be over 60 years of age. This will have a significant impact on our health and health care systems as well as on our economy and communities. That is why it is so important to support active and healthy ageing.

Physical activity is extremely important for older adults. In addition to the many benefits we’ve already discussed, it:

  • Improves immune function, stamina, muscle strength and balance;
  • Reduces falls and injuries, helps maintain the ability to live independently;
  • Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses; and
  • Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.

According to the WHO – older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. That’s not much, and the benefits are well worth the effort. It’s never too late to start, but be sure to check with your doctor before venturing into a new activity.

Remember, active time can be social time – so track down a physical activity program in your community – one that offers aerobic, strengthening and flexibility components, or form a walking group with your friends. Get into gardening, or take up swimming or Tai Chi.

The options are endless – be creative, #BeActive.

 

Physical activity: What 8 of the world’s greatest minds had to say

Fasten your seat belts and put on your intellectual hats, we are taking a trip through time to share with you what some of the best minds have said about physical activity through the years:

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” Plato

”Without exercise, a good diet alone is not sufficient and eventually medical treatment will be needed.” ◊ Hippocrates

“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.”Cicero

“In every school a gymnasium, or place for physical exercise, should be established for the children. This much-neglected provision is, in my opinion, the most important part of education, not only for the purpose of forming robust and healthy physiques, but even more for moral purposes.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.”Robert de Ferrers, First Earl of Derby

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow…a thousand rills which have their rise in the sources of thought burst forth and fertilize my brain…only while we are in action is the circulation perfect.” Henry David Thoreau

“Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise […]. The recipe […] is simple diet, exercise and the open air, be it’s state what it will; and we may venture to say that this recipe will give health and vigor to every other description.” Thomas Jefferson

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ◊ Thomas Edison

The value of sport and physical activity is no secret – our greatest minds have known for thousands of years how important it is to lead a healthy and fulfilled life. Now we all just need to work together to make sure we embody those values once again. #BeActive