Even before the current crisis, data was already highlighting how Europeans are engaging in sport less often. In recent months, this trend has worsened as a result of lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic limiting many outdoor activities. The European Commission has therefore developed the #BeActiveAtHome concept, giving people ideas and resources to exercise and remain physically active – even under these unprecedented circumstances.
In addition to the physical benefits of keeping active, studies show that sporting activities help people cope with uncertainty and stress. Home workouts have also a particularly important role to play when it comes to mental health. Staying active is essential during periods of confinement, which can lead to different forms of pathological anxiety, reactive depression and post-traumatic stress. Here is how sport helps:
- Workouts, even at home, give people a sense of control during an uncertain time. When there are major disruptions to everyday life, sport can restore a sense of familiarity and routine
- Exercise releases endorphins, a natural chemical that makes us feel good
- Sport reduces mental fatigue, improves sleep and is often prescribed as a treatment for depression and anxiety
- Physical activity helps build mental resilience during times of high risk or ongoing stress and can be used in coping strategies
Our partners have chipped in as well:
- TAFISA (The Association For International Sport for All) launched The Global Sport For All Movement and Covid-19.
- Public Health England issued its Active at Home guide, aiming to help older people maintain an active lifestyle.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) also offers guidance to Stay Physically Active during Self-Quarantine.
Other inspiring and innovative strategies to keep fit during the lockdowns have ranged from converting basements and attics into workout spaces to exercise routines that involve lifting household objects. People have also discovered new sports and disciplines that do not require much space or equipment, from yoga and tai chi to working with resistance bands and even household activities like gardening.
All this shows that #BeActiveAtHome is now a welcome part of the #BeActive campaign – and that fitness is more accessible than ever!