Tag Archives: sport

#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!

Active Children: EuropeActive accepts the challenge

One out of five children in Europe is affected by overweight or obesity, European children spend only 5% of their school-time in physical activities and less than 10% of them meet the WHO recommendations on physical activity. Research also shows that low levels of physical activity among children can cause bad performance at school and long-term health problems like adult obesity, heart disease and diabetes. These reports are the harshest and most brutal warnings that something has to be done.

 

ALCIS: “Action Learning for Children in School”

The ALCIS project (Action Learning for Children in School) came to life to tackle these key issues by striving to combine action and learning: children are truly at the core of the programme, teachers will guide them throughout the learning process and fitness instructors will support them for the action part. The main objective is to encourage children, their families and friends to be more active, more often… because it is not only fun but an investment for life.

ALCIS, an old appellation for Athens, is one of the most powerful goddesses – mostly known as the goddess of physical prowess and strength. She is a fitting symbol for the project that wants children to reflect about different lifestyle choices in relation to physical activity, stress management and overall well-being with the aim for a long-term impact.

We will cover five EU Member States (Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands and United Kingdom) and a total of 50 schools. Nearly 5,000 children will participate in at least four non-competitive group exercise classes. The project will start during the European Week of Sport with a first class group exercise adapted to children between 8 and 12 years old. In the following four weeks children will devote some weekly time to the implementation of the programme, which will end with a final fun group exercise – involving children’s families and friends – at the beginning of November 2015.

The ALCIS project started in May 2015 and will run for 12 months. It is funded with the support of the Erasmus+ Sport Programme of the European Union and it will contribute to the European Week of Sport focus day aimed at education, sport and young people on Tuesday 8th September 2015. EuropeActive is the leader partner and cooperates with other six not-for-profit associations across Europe in order to develop, implement and ensure the success of the project. These are: eurMind (Belgium), Ireland Active (Ireland), The Wellness Foundation (Italy), The Lithuanian Health and Fitness Association (Lithuania), Fit!vak (Netherlands) and Ukactive (United Kingdom).

About EuropeActive

EuropeActive formerly known as The European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA), with its origins in 1996 as a not-for-profit organisation, remains as the unique voice for the European health & fitness sector to all of the main EU Institutions. Its mission is to turn back the tide of inactivity and ensure that MORE PEOPLE become MORE ACTIVE as a result of a functional synergy between all of the sector’s actors.

EuropeActive has, among its membership, more than 10,000 facilities, 19 national trade associa­tions, sector leading suppliers, education providers and individuals.

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.

#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