All posts by tkorman

Physical activity: The gender gap

Let’s talk about women for a moment.

We’ve given you statistics about how active Europeans are, and as you know by now, the numbers aren’t looking good. Unfortunately, they are even worse for women. In fact, 63% of women in the EU never or seldom exercise or play sport.

The WHO underscores the importance of physical activity for women by highlighting its contribution to building self-esteem and confidence, and providing a vehicle for social integration and equality for women in society. Research has shown that sport can help to challenge gender norms and provides women and girls with opportunities for leadership and achievement.

Furthermore, physical activity has been shown to reduce the occurrence of many of the diseases and conditions that affect women across globe, including breast cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

So, what’s the hold up?

Men in the EU play more sports than women overall. However, the disparity is particularly marked in the 15-24 age group, with young men tending to exercise considerably more (71% at least once a week) than young women (50% at least once a week).

What’s shocking is that the gender divide in physical activity starts as early as seven years old! Indeed, according to a study in the British Medical Journal[i]., only 38% of seven-year old girls, compared to 63% of boys were achieving the required amount of physical activity.

This needs to stop.

The European Week of Sport is working to make sure ALL Europeans get moving and work together to build a #BeActive society. Ensuring that girls have access to opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity – particularly in the educational setting – is a critical step to closing this gender gap.

[i] Griffiths, Dezteux, et.al, “How active are our children? Findings from the Millenium Cohort Study”. British Medical Journal, 2013

Five surprising ways sport clubs benefit children and youth

More good news about the incredible benefits of physical activity! Here are five amazing things that children and youth get out of being a member of a sport club:

Healthy bodies, healthy minds

Through the development of healthy physical activity habits, children and youth are not only supporting healthy bodies, but are also likely to show improved performance in school. Another terrific advantage of sport clubs – which generally involve a long term commitment – is that if young people are physically active from an early age, they are more likely to continue to be so in early adulthood.

Social skills

Structured activities, such as organized sports, are linked to lower levels of antisocial behaviour in children.  Indeed, sport clubs can help them develop important social skills such as good citizenship, positive peer relations and respect for authority through learning to interact not only with other children their age, but also with older individuals in their coaches and sports officials.

Self-esteem

Studies have shown that those who engage in sport and physical activity are more confident – this is particularly important in child development. Sport clubs allow children and youth to build self-esteem as they learn to trust in their own abilities, receive encouragement and praise from coaches and parents, and learn to accept constructive criticism.

Skill building

Sport clubs provide an opportunity for children and youth to learn skills that will help them in school, as well as in their future careers and personal relationship. Through engagement in sport, they learn leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, responsibility, self-discipline, and a sense of initiative.

Tolerance

Sport clubs help children – especially those who are disadvantaged – build last friendships and feel part of a wider community. By bringing together individuals from different races, religions, genders and economic backgrounds, sport can promote mutual respect, tolerance and understand.

 

Sometimes it truly is incredible to take measure of all the benefits of sport and physical activity. #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

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

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

Supporting #BeActive workplaces: Energy@Work

Technology has made our lives easier. Instead of taking the stairs we use the elevator, instead of walking to work, we park our cars as close as we can, instead of growing our own vegetables, we get them delivered straight to our doorsteps. A technological step forward indeed, but one that also impacts our health. Being active nowadays means that you make time to exercise. But in this time-consuming world we benefit to look for ways to integrate our activity in our daily life.

So much can be gained by making small, but valuable changes in our lifestyles – not only in our personal lives, but also in our professional environments. When people engage in physical activity, they have more energy, better focus and efficiency, and a more positive self-image.

Energy Lab’s Energy@Work program helps companies set up a health and wellness plan to inform, activate and motivate all employees to live healthier lifestyles. In order to achieve a real reversal of unhealthy habits, we focus on three elements: sport and physical activity, nutrition and mental health.

Take a moment to look at this stunning video showing the result of all the hard work that Adecco Win4Youth ambassadors have gone through to prepare themselves for cycling the Col du Tourmalet.

Every year, Adecco recruits new ambassadors worldwide to give them a once in a lifetime experience. Most of them are brand new to cycling, which makes the challenge even bigger. But with the support of Energy Lab they all went the extra mile to reach their goal.

Our sport coaches first test all ambassadors to understand their starting condition. Based on these results, the coaches set up a nutrition and sporting plan which they followed up closely. In preparation for the big event, training sessions are booked to evaluate the progress of each ambassador. During this phase, we keep an eye on the condition of each individual to be sure that they train in a responsible manner.

We believe that focusing on the wellbeing of employees allows companies to thrive on an individual and corporate level.

About the Energy Lab

Energy Lab trains and coaches recreational, competitive and professional athletes, in person as well as online with the Start2Run app and MyEnergyLab tool. Secondly Energy Lab develops exercise and wellness campaigns for companies under the umbrella Energy@Work. Energy Lab currently counts 4 labs in Belgium and the Netherlands, and is part of the Golazo Group.

WT3A0069

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