Figures show that we live in a world where physical inactivity is on the rise. In a world where the desk job is king and leisure time sport activities are left on the bench, it’s not surprising we’re seeing increased spending on health care, a loss of productivity in the workplace and reduced employability as just a few of the effects. But how can we combat this inactivity that has become so engrained in our way of life?
In order to begin tackling this phenomenon the European Commission created the European Week of Sport. This week takes place in 28 countries, with over 8,000 events and 2,173,000 participants. The European Commission's infographic reveals the truth about how active Europeans are on average and exemplifies the need for more action:
What is European Week of Sport?
European Week of Sport aims to promote sport and physical activity across Europe. The week is for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level. With a focus on grassroots initiatives, the idea is to inspire Europeans to #BeActive on a regular basis and create opportunities in peoples’ everyday lives to exercise more.
How does it work?
The week is structured around four Focus Days: Education environment, Workplace, Outdoors, Sport Clubs and Fitness Centres. These are the main settings where people can improve their habits and #BeActive! The flagship event took place on Thursday 15 September in Brussels, the theme of which was 'Good Governance in Sport'. There are 31 main participating countries, each of which organise their own national and local events for European Week of Sport.
There was also a #BeActive Photo Competition, the main prize of which is two VIP passes to the Belgrade 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships, among many other sport and fitness prizes!
Last year was the first European Week of Sport and we hope this year has been as big of a success. Watch last year's video to get an idea of what it's all about and check out the highlights from 2015 for more information:
Why is the European Week of Sport important?
The BBC reported that “Inactivity kills more people in Europe than obesity” - University of Cambridge researchers said about 676,000 deaths each year were down to inactivity, compared with 337,000 from carrying too much weight. They concluded that getting everyone to do at least 20 minutes of brisk walking a day would have substantial benefits.
The Guardian recently reported that “at least an hour of physical activity a day may be required to offset the harmful effects of sitting at a desk for eight hours”. They also reported that “physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5bn (£51.5bn) per year – the UK equivalent is £1.7bn – comprising $58.8bn in healthcare and $13.7bn in lost productivity”. Not only is the productivity of our workforce declining, but so is the health of our workforce, ultimately resulting in an increased risk of death.
It’s not all doom and gloom…
Lead author Prof Ulf Ekelund, from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and Cambridge University, said: “You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym. It’s OK doing some brisk walking, maybe in the morning, during lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day, but you need to do at least one hour.” So get off those bums, go outside and get active! It’s your life on the line…
“We want to show people that there are many opportunities to be active wherever they are. Get involved and help us inspire European citizens to do more sport and regular physical activity.” - Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
What’s the best way to stay active when you have a busy lifestyle? Let us know @EurodeskUK