Category Archives: Outdoors

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.

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

 

 

10 creative ways to enjoy the outdoors

Summertime should be filled with a variety of activities to enjoy the outdoors. We thought we’d share some creative ideas to jump start your motivation:

  • Have a #BeActive picnic: enjoy a meal with friends and family – but be sure to bring along a Frisbee or a ball to squeeze in some active fun!
  • Volunteer: whether you partake in a beach clean-up, plant trees or work in a community garden you’ll get more than just physical activity, you’ll also get karma points!
  • Plant a little garden: this is a great low impact way to #BeActive, and you can get your children to help you out.
  • Explore nearby woods: if you’re lucky you may stumble upon a berry patch, or interesting creatures (hopefully not the scary ones!)
  • Go shell collecting: spending the summer at the sea? Take the time to walk along the beach and collect shells!
  • Look to the stars: Looking for something romantic to do? Why start the night with a long walk and end it with some stargazing?
  • Sack race to the finish line: set up a sack race for the kids in your neighbourhood – a great, and active way to build a stronger sense of community. Fun is guaranteed!
  • Fly a kite: buy one or make your own, head to the beach and watch it glide!
  • Dance like no one’s watching: it’s festival season, get out there and enjoy the music, the crowd and the outdoors!
  • Build an outdoor play area: if you have a garden, consider setting a small space aside to build a sandbox, a treehouse or a garden patch for your kids to play in … let your ideas flow! It’s a great way to get you and the kids away from the screen.

Feeling inspired? Do you have any other creative ways to enjoy the outdoors? Share them with us! #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.

 

#BeActive in the urban jungle: why it matters

Ahhhh summertime….. When cities seem to come alive, parks are filled with families, and people can enjoy balmy evening walks. What better time is there to take advantage of your city’s outdoor spaces to #BeActive?

Here’s an interesting bit of news: A recent study found that cities with residents that are physically active have better economic productivity, higher property values, and improved school performance than those with more sedentary populations. Add to that a healthier population, and it’s hard to imagine anyone disagreeing on the importance of designing cities that support #BeActive living.

With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities today, and two thirds expected to do so by 2050, creating urban settings that provide opportunity for outdoor sport and physical activity is more important now than ever. Parks, cycling and pedestrian lanes, playgrounds, and outdoor gyms are just some of the many elements that help build active cities.

Here are some tips that city planners and decision makers could take into consideration (for more, have a look at our website here):

  • Promote the use of more active forms of transport, and encourage residents, when possible, to leave the car at home;
  • Develop well-lit walking paths around neighborhoods; and
  • Provide greenspaces and playgrounds that are safe and easily accessible.

Here’s the thing though: It isn’t enough to ask city planners and policy makers to make these changes. Currently, 76% of Europeans say there are opportunities to be physically active in their local area, but only 41% of Europeans say they engage in sport or physical activity at least once a week. That means that despite having access, people are not taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to them – including those outdoors.

That’s why the objective of the European Week of Sport is so important. We are working to build a more active Europe, one that values sport and physical activity more. In order to achieve this, we need to inspire, encourage, and help Europeans to get moving.

What better place than the outdoors? What better time than the summer? #BeActive