Category Archives: European Week of Sport

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.

 

Sport: Strengthening communities and supporting social inclusion

Let’s take a more serious tone for a moment, and discuss one of the major reasons we are promoting the European Week of Sport. We haven’t talked much about it so far in this blog, but it one that is a fundamental motivations behind much of our work: social inclusion.

Sport is a universal language, one that can be spoken by everyone, no matter their gender, religion, disability, age or income group. It has also been recognised by the United Nations, the World Bank, and many experts around the world as being a powerful tool with which to combat social exclusion, promote intercultural learning and reduce social tensions.

At this point (if you’ve been reading our blog!), most of you know the physical and mental benefits of sport – and how important it is to get European to #BeActive as early in life as possible. But another incredibly important reason to get children and youth involved in sport is that it helps them build strong values – self-discipline, respect for one’s opponent, fair play, teamwork and adherence to mutually agreed upon rules and structure. These values, which embody some of the best that sport has to offer, carry over into people’s everyday lives, into their homes and workplaces and more importantly into their community.

So you see, it’s a win-win for Europe and for Europeans if we can achieve the objectives of this campaign. Think about it: how many other things offer the innumerable benefits of sport? Healthy bodies, healthy minds, creativity, success, self-esteem, healthy economies, thriving communities, FUN…we could go on, but we think you get the idea.

Yes, we want to get Europeans moving, but this movement is about so much more than just that. Join us, we can’t do this without you. #BeActive

Everything you never knew about golf

Golf is an enjoyable sport for people of all ages, offering a peaceful venue for both companionship and competition.  The sport is good exercise and a great way to appreciate a natural setting with the people you enjoy spending time with most.  Golf also has the advantage of being a sport that you can play your entire life. Europe has over 6,000 golf courses, providing the opportunity to play different courses and enjoy a wide range of natural environments.

Playing golf has numerous health benefits – it’s a great way to be active, stay active, and enjoy being active.

  • During an 18-hole round of golf players take at least 10,000 steps and travel over 8 km.
  • The spectators at a golf championship, such as The Open being played at St Andrews this week, will walk many kilometers to watch their favourite golfers.
  • Walking 18 holes of golf while carrying your clubs can burn over 2,000 calories.
  • Playing golf regularly improves your balance. Older golfers especially have better static and dynamic balance than their non-golfing peers.
  • The walking involved in playing two rounds of golf per week is equivalent to the UK government advice on weekly physical activity.
  • The walking involved in playing two rounds of golf per week is equivalent to the exercise component of the Diabetes Prevention Project which prevented 70% of high risk individuals from developing diabetes.
  • A Swedish study found that the death rate for golfers is 40% lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status, which correspond to a 5 year increase in life expectancy.

Start02 playing golf

Wellbeing benefits of golf

Although the sport can be played individually or in pairs, golf is often played in groups of three or four people.  Many golfers enjoy friendly competitions with their playing partners, which is a great way to make the sport even more exciting.

  • Because golfers walk between shots, these windows of time are perfect for talking with your playing partners.
  • Golf courses have clubhouses which provide further venues to enjoy the company of good friends before or after your game.
  • Research has shown that participation in golf can reduce anxiety and increase self-confidence.

The integrity of a golfer

Most forms of golf do not have referees and, therefore, the sport relies on the integrity of individual players.  Golfers are expected to keep their own score and report it honestly.  Golfers are respectful of one another and often will applaud a good shot of a playing competitor.  The etiquette of golf is an integral part of the sport and it features in the Rules of Golf.  Playing golf is an effective way to teach young people values such as honesty, integrity and respect.

What03 is golf

Golf and the natural environment

Golf is a sport that is often played in beautiful natural settings.  Whether it is amongst mountain ranges, by the coast or through a forest, playing golf is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the natural environment; experts call this “green exercise”.  While on a golf course you can hear birds singing, wind rushing through the trees, or waves crashing on the beach.  Recent research has shown that golf courses can provide high quality bird habitat, and thus many courses appeal to naturalists and bird watchers.

What are you waiting for? Start playing golf

 There are lots of choices for how to play golf and many venues will loan or hire the equipment you need to get started.  If you have friends that already play, ask them to take you along and introduce you to the sport.  If you don’t know anyone that plays, you can simply approach any local golf facility where you will receive a warm welcome and all the advice and support you need to get started.

Your national golf governing body will also be able to help you identify a suitable facility at which to start playing; be it a driving range, practice centre or local club.  You can find your national governing body in Europe by visiting the website of the European Golf Association at ega-golf.ch

About Golf Europe

Golf Europe is a group of major golf stakeholders collaborating to develop the sport and enhance golf’s contribution to European society.  Approximately 7.9 million European citizens play golf in an industry that contributes over €15.1 billion to the European economy.  Golf Europe seeks to operate in the best interests of golf at the pan-European level.

The Open Championship

 Golf’s oldest major championship, The Open, is being played this year July 16-19, when it returns to St Andrews, the home of golf.  Please check your local listings for television coverage.

 

How to get started?

#BeActive: Tomorrow starts today

You’ve heard the statistics, you know what you need to do, but where to begin?

Take a moment to think about how physically active you are in your daily life by asking yourself a few questions. For example:

  • How many hours a day do you spend sitting down? (Don’t forget to include time sitting during your commute, at your desk, eating dinner, watching television, and so on).
  • Do you have easy access to parks and other green spaces? Are there biking trails nearby? Take a walk around your neighbourhood and keep an eye out.
  • How do you commute to work? If on foot – that’s active. If by car, that’s not…
  • And what about your kids? How many hours do they spend online or watching TV? And how much physical education do they do at school? How about their commute – is it active?

So, that’s the starting point sorted. Where do you go from there?

Adopting a more active lifestyle is a commitment you have to make, but it really doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are many simple ways to #BeActive – and many settings in which to do so. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you.

We’ve taken this into account and structured the European Week of Sport around four Focus Day settings – Education, Workplace, Outdoors, and Sport Clubs and Fitness Centres. These are some of the many places you can incorporate physical activity into your daily life. You could try taking a more active commute to work, go for a long walk this weekend or commit to taking the stairs whenever possible.

The possibilities are endless, and we’re here to help, so stay tuned for tips. We would also love to hear some of your ideas. Please share them in the comments section.

Get started. #BeActive. We challenge you: Take the #MyWeek #BeActive Challenge

How sport contributes to society

Participating in sport and physical activity brings multiple physical and mental health benefits. But sport has an even more powerful societal role to play. It can help promote social inclusion and create more cohesive societies. How?

Sport has universal appeal and knows no cultural or socio-economic boundaries. It enables people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures, including those from marginalised or underprivileged groups, to get together and have fun! By bringing together those who might not usually interact socially, sport helps break down barriers and strengthen communities.

What’s more, by engaging in sport, young people can attain personal and professional competences which enhance their employability. This kind of ‘informal learning’ fosters teamwork, discipline and creativity, and imparts valuable ‘life skills’ such as leadership, taking responsibility, and so on. In this way, sport can contribute to a bigger picture, helping to tackle youth unemployment and ultimately stimulate economic recovery.

And it doesn’t stop there!

Not only is physical inactivity one of the leading risk factors for health in Europe, it’s also costing us a fortune from direct (health care) and indirect costs.

Transforming our society into one that is more physically active can, literally, save our economies a lot of money that we all know is needed elsewhere.

#BeActive

#BeActive: Tomorrow starts today

#BeActive: Tomorrow starts today

There is a high chance that you are reading this blog while sitting down. In fact, statistically speaking, you will likely spend 5 to 6 hours seated today – and not nearly enough time being physically active or engaging in sport. According to a recent Eurobarometer, 59% of Europeans never or seldom exercise or play sport, and 74% are not members of any sport clubs. More alarming is that children are 50% less active by the age of 15 than they were at the age of 9… The facts are clear: people have become less active and are leading more sedentary lives. We sit more, we choose less active commutes, we work in jobs that require little or no physical activity, we shop online – you get the picture…

There’s a serious side to all this: increasing rates of inactivity are having a really negative impact on people’s health. The scientific community and other experts have raised the alarm. They’re calling sitting the ‘new smoking’ and highlighting the risks to health of today’s sedentary lifestyles.  And it doesn’t just affect individuals: our society and economy as a whole take a hit, through increased spending on health care, a loss of productivity in the workplace, reduced employability and more…

But it’s not all bad news! There is a way to reverse the trend.

The European Commission is launching the first annual European Week of Sport to encourage, challenge and inspire Europeans to integrate more sport and physical activity into their daily lives. Everyone across Europe has an important role to play in transforming our culture of inactivity into one that values physical activity and sport. It takes decision-makers and employers, local authorities and urban planners, parents and teachers, employees and students to get engaged and support each other in building healthy and more active communities, cities and lifestyles.

And you can find out how here

We hope you’ll be a part of our #BeActive online community. Tell us how you are staying physically active – even just the simple things, like taking the stairs or getting off the train to work one stop early. And how can you inspire others to be more active? Take a look at the rest of the website to learn more about the European Week of Sport.  Keep an eye on the blog. Follow us on social media… We’ll be sharing tips on how to be more active, interviews with inspiring people, and lots lots more. There will even be opportunities for you to get engaged and win prizes!

We’re starting a movement. Be part of it. #BeActive