Tag Archives: health

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

#BeActive workplaces: tackling the physical inactivity crisis

Have you been reading the news lately?

A couple of weeks ago, a study came out in the UK recommending that “office workers […] spend a minimum of two hours on their feet at work – building up to an ideal four hours – in order to avoid the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle.” It’s safe to assume that very few people can actually claim they do that.

Now, combine that information with the fact that 59% of Europeans say they never or seldom exercise, and it sounds like we’re facing quite the challenge in getting people up and moving more. The good news however, is that there are many ways to tackle it.

The workplace is one of the Focus Day settings of the European Week of Sport, and that’s because it’s one of the most important (and obvious) places where people can change their physical activity habits.

Are you an employee?

Fitting physical activity into your workday isn’t rocket science, and studies show that active employees are more successful in their careers. Try these tips:

Step up: You hear it all the time, but really, forget the lift and take the stairs more often

Take it outside: Embrace the walking meeting. Zuckerberg and Obama have already picked up this creativity boosting, healthy habit, why not you?

Activate your break: Use your lunch hour or coffee break to stretch your legs and get outdoors for a walk if you can. You might even want to consider squeezing in an afternoon gym session.

Make the most of your commute: Try using more active forms of transportation like cycling. If you take the metro or bus, consider getting off a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way.

Are you an employer?

Having an active workforce means more productivity and less absenteeism. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Stand tall: Consider providing your employees with the option of upgrading to a standing desk (or even a treadmill desk!).

Partner up: with a nearby sport club or fitness centre to provide your employees with discounted access.

Develop a Wellness programme: Assess your employees’ needs and work together to build a programme that provides opportunity, access and support.

Does your office provide you with opportunities to #BeActive? Have you developed an innovative programme to support your employees’ wellbeing? We’d love to hear about it!

Targeting physical inactivity in children: a focus on schools

If you’ve been reading our blog (and we hope you have!) you know the numerous benefits that sport and physical activity provide: happiness, more energy, better health, less anxiety …and on and on… what’s not to love! But what we did not stress enough is why it’s so important to start young!

Let’s look at the scary numbers first:

Childhood obesity is no joke – and it’s on the rise in Europe, where according to the WHO, one in three 11 year olds is overweight or obese. Furthermore, European children are 50% less physically active by age 15 than they were at age nine. As computer games, television and mobile devices take up more and more leisure time, physical inactivity is hurting Europe’s children. That’s the reality.

On the other hand, an increasing number of studies are coming out demonstrating the value of incorporating more physical activity into the lives of children. Active kids have been shown to perform better at school and develop more confidence. As we’ve already mentioned, physical activity also helps boost brain power and creativity – these are excellent added benefits for students of all ages. Finally, kids who embrace an active lifestyle are more likely to carry those good habits into adulthood – and that’s a good thing.

This is why encouraging physical activity in the educational environment is so important, and why the European Week of Sport has this setting as one of its Focus Day themes.

There are many ways to encourage kids to #BeActive, but it’s also important to support schools, educators and other decision makers in creating a culture that values more physical activity in the school setting – from nursery to university level.

We’ve shared some tips on our website, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Have you heard of any innovative programs to get kids active? What do you do to encourage your children to fight inactivity? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Let’s work together to help Europe’s children and youth #BeActive!

Top 10 reasons to #BeActive. Do you know them all?

Many people are motivated to engage in sport and physical activity by the prospect of weight loss and/or an increase in fitness levels. The truth is, there is so much more to be gained. Here are our top 10 reasons to #BeActive:

  1. Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer. This is no joke – the top 10 killers in the 50 highest-income countries are all connected to lack of physical activity
  2. Strengthen your bones… Physical activity slows the loss of bone density that comes with age. This is particularly important for women, who are most likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
  3. Support lung function… By exercising regularly your body becomes better at loading, transporting and utilising oxygen. Breathe on.
  4. Energy supercharge… It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you are feeling tired all the time, try exercise. It helps boost energy levels and reduce fatigue.
  5. Don’t worry, be happy… You know that feeling you get after a workout, swim or long walk? That’s from the endorphins released through exercise, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Exercise can also help alleviate feelings of depression.
  6. Self-confidence boost… Studies have shown increased self-esteem in those who exercise regularly. It also turns out that if you exercise outdoors, you’ll get an even bigger boost.
  7. Your moment of ZenExercise reduces stress, anxiety and tension. Physical activity increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
  8. Creativity surge… Physical activity has been shown to boost creativity for a few hours. So think about squeezing a workout in during your lunch break if you have an important creative project to work on in the afternoon.
  9. Sweet dreams Regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer – just don’t exercise too close to bedtime or the energy boost will keep you awake!
  10. Brain power Exercise sharpens your memory, concentration and brain power. Who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

So, you see, it’s about so much more than weight loss and a fit body. The benefits of participating in sport and physical activity are innumerable – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Watch this space to find out more and join the #MyWeek #BeActive Challenge.