Get friendly

Sport is way more fun with friends. And you’re also more likely to be – and stay – active together. Go for it!

Tips and tricks: education

European Week of Sport infographic about education

Plant a school garden

School gardens are a fun way to #BeActive and teach instructive lessons on biology, chemistry, and other topics. By growing their own vegetables and fruits, students also learn about the relationship between food and nutrition.

  • Plant a fruit, vegetable, or herb garden that students are responsible for tending. It can be outside or inside. By planting, harvesting, and then eating what they grow, students can #BeActive, learn, and have fun all at once.
  • Incorporate school gardens into classroom lessons (e.g., science and cooking) for a total #BeActive learning experience.

Create a #BeActive council

Councils can bring teachers, parents, students, and administrators together to discuss ways to #BeActive more at school. Everyone involved should share the view that physical education is worth teaching and learning. Here are some questions to get the conversation started:

  • How are students being active now at school? What activity is the most popular?
  • Which teachers are most effective at helping students to #BeActive during class? And why?
  • What can parents do to support schools to #BeActive?
  • Do administrators create an enabling environment for students and teachers to #BeActive?

Get teachers to #BeActive

Teachers are some of the most influential people in children’s lives. But getting students to #BeActive requires more than just talking about physical activity. Teachers must be good role models themselves. If teachers don’t live the #BeActive lifestyle themselves, why should students? 

Being a positive role model requires teachers to #BeActive regularly, and inspire students on their own #BeActive journey. Overweight teachers taking part in the #BeActive challenge can be among the most influential advocates, especially for students struggling to lose weight themselves. Remember, the body achieves what the mind believes. 

Track your #BeActivity

Encourage students to #BeActive outside school by tracking their TV time, computer time, and physical activity for a week. During the following week, challenge them to double their activity time, and chart it again. Share the results as a class with a competition that awards the ‘top’ performers.

The satisfaction of their personal achievement and encouragement from classmates should quickly improve students’ physical activity. Students will also practice other important life skills including goal-setting and time management.

#BeActive in class

Students don’t need to be sitting down to learn. In fact, evidence shows that they can be even better learners ‘on the move’ in some cases. Try some of the #BeActive activities below to see if they improve your students’ performance.  

  • Jumping jacks. Have students stand next to their desks. Instead of raising their hands to volunteer or ask questions, have them do jumping jacks. Award points to encourage participation.
  • Hop-scotch math. Have students answer math questions by jumping on the correct numbers written on the ground with chalk or stickers. Students can still work out the problem first at their desk for complicated equations.
  • Warms-ups. Establish a routine between activities where students do something physical together. Whether it’s a quick classroom stretch, walking around the room, or even a few jumping jacks, this can be a great way to start the class and energise students.
  • Cultural movement. Cultures and historical periods have unique dances, sports, and games. Try these out as a class. As you compare different countries or time periods, try out their cultural activities (i.e. dance to Spanish flamenco, Hawaiian hula, and American swing).
  • Charades. Play charades with vocabulary terms by having students act out words related to animals, plants, weather, etc.

Free Dance on Fridays

TGIF! Fridays are the best day of the week, signalling the start of the weekend. ‘Free-Dance Fridays’ channel this excitement into exercise. Take 20 minutes out of your normal classroom schedule on Fridays, and get students ‘on the move’ with the songs they love.

Tips and tricks: workplace

#BeActive at lunch

European Week of Sport infographic about workspace

Why not #BeActive during lunch? Research shows that the lunch hour might be the best time to exercise since your strength peaks midday. Plenty of evidence shows that it can improve your workplace productivity too.

So, get outside for a walk or hit the gym during the lunch hour. Start an all-office fitness group for yoga, running, or team sports. Be bold and ask management to turn a vacant room into an office gym. You can even ask for flexible lunch times to #BeActive and still have time to eat. Anything’s possible. 

While this might seem like a big cultural shift at work, you might be surprised that management is supportive. Health care costs are a rising burden for business that many employers recognise being active can help reduce. 

Start a pedometer challenge

Start a pedometer challenge to inspire employees to #BeActive in an all-office competition. The more steps employees take, the more health benefits they receive. Set the goal to 10 000 steps a day, awarding the top ‘stepper’ a grand prize.  

A pedometer measures the number of steps in any physical activity that involves hip movement. Simple pedometers measure the number of steps taken and can be downloaded as an app on mobile device. More advanced models calculate calories burned, distance travelled, etc.  

Take a hydration challenge

Most people don’t drink enough water at work, even though it’s vital to maintain health. Take the hydration challenge to your office and help employees safely #BeActive all day long.

Set a time for the challenge – from one day to one month – and have employees self-report their water consumption. The competition can take place individually or in teams with prizes for the best results. The hydration challenge also doubles as a nice team-building exercise.

Try all-office kickball

What if everyone in your office came together to play an all-office sport? You could #BeActive, have fun, and team build at the same time! Finding a sport that is inclusive for people of all fitness abilities, however, can be tough. Try kickball.

It’s a light-hearted game from the U.S. that combines elements of football and baseball, where the ball is thrown to someone who kicks it and runs the bases. Anyone can play, regardless of their athleticism, and it’s easy to learn.

#BeActive on your commute

Get off your commuter seat, and on your feet. Evaluate your route to work and find ways to walk or bike to the office. This might mean getting off one station early from the bus or cycling to your bus station. 

The healthy benefits are numerous. Outdoor exercise can improve your productivity and energy on the job, and the exposure to daylight can boost your mood too.

Tips and tricks: fitness centres

European Week of Sport infographic about fitness centres

Offer shared memberships

Not everyone can afford membership fees to fitness centres. What if more options were available?

Fitness centres could allow 2-3 people to share membership for a special rate. Only one person could use the membership at a time. This way, clubs become more affordable and inclusive, without undermining the quality of their facilities.

Introduce ‘Discovery Days’

Fitness centres offer far more than treadmills and free weights. Yoga, pilates, zumba, spinning, circuit-training; these courses and more are available at fitness centres throughout Europe.

Help people to discover all these fun ways to #BeActive at fitness centres with ‘Discovery Days’ dedicated to a specific course. This is especially useful to spotlight less familiar sports like kick-boxing or racquetball.

Consider making participation free for non-members during these days to encourage people of all backgrounds to participate.

Make everyone welcome

Often the people who need fitness centres the most don’t go. Why? Many report that they simply don’t feel welcome because of their size or fitness level. This needs to change.

Next time you’re at the gym, go out of your way to make newcomers feel welcome. Encourage them on their journey to health and wellness, and offer a helping hand. Do you know someone who could use a fitness centre? Offer to bring them with you next time, and help them discover the benefits of being active.

Tips and tricks: outdoors

European Week of Sport infographic about the outdoors

Bring ‘bike-sharing’ to your city

Bike sharing programmes continue to grow in popularity, and for good reason. It’s a convenient and affordable way to make cycling easier and reduce traffic from polluting cars. These programmes make public bikes available for rent with electronic subscriptions that allows people to start and end their journeys at different locations throughout a city.

Does your city have a bike sharing programme? If not, talk to your leaders about getting one started. Remember to tell them that biking is not only good for people’s health, but also for the environment and city life.

Advocate for green spaces

In many cities, finding green spaces to #BeActive that are accessible, safe, and clean is tough. City leaders can make it easier by investing in new green spaces and renovating ones that need repair.

Advocate for green spaces to #BeActive with your city leaders. Tell them about the importance to your community’s health and wellness. Encourage them to integrate public transportation into the plan, and to address the safety concerns of citizens.

Take it outside

Long walks can improve moods and reduce anxiety, but the benefits may be greatest if the walks take place outdoors rather than in a gym, according to a new study by researchers in Austria. And while the Alps may be a particularly fine place to hike, a vigorous walk in the woods near home provides an equally good mental and physical boost.

It’s long been known that fitness and fresh air go very well together. Some coaches believe that the colour green has a calming effect. Plus, the scenery distracts you from how hard you’re working.

You don’t need to live on the Alps to take it outside. If you’re in the city, take a fitness class outside or opt for the road instead of the treadmill.    

Get creative

As our cities grow, we must find new, creative ways to #BeActive. Here are two ideas to consider bringing to your city.    

Car-Free Sundays. What if no cars were allowed on your city streets? And everyone and anyone could run, bike, jump, dance on the road with total freedom? That’s what Car-Free Sundays are all about, and they’re gaining in popularity throughout Europe.

Pop-up skate parks. Transform infrastructure like tunnels into pop-up skate parks during off-peak hours. These spaces get kids off the streets and into a safe space to #BeActive on skateboards, rollerblades, and more.

Tips and tricks: sport clubs

European Week of Sport infographic about sport clubs

Organise intramural leagues

Get your sports club to go beyond its current offering with more informal league-based sports. Often called intramural sports, these could range from traditional sports like football and basketball to unconventional ones like ultimate frisbee.

Intramural leagues should be open to all people regardless of their abilities and are often co-ed. People enjoy the opportunity to meet new people in a fun, less competitive atmosphere than the typical sports club event. Everyone gets equal playing time and club athletes volunteer as coaches, referees, and organisers. 

Build partnerships

Sport clubs have lots to offer the local communities where they play. They often have people and resources that places like schools can only dream of. Let’s bridge this divide.

Yes, sport clubs can donate equipment and resources. But what about their time? This is where partnerships come into play. Discover below three ways that partnerships with sport clubs can benefit your community.

  • Schools. Club athletes and coaches can volunteer at local schools by teaching the fundamentals of their sport in physical education classes or in 1on1 coaching sessions with school teams
  • Community Centres. Club athletes and coaches are often high-profile role-models for young people of all ages. Their presence at community centres – either as volunteers or special guests – could be enormously positive. Invite them to tell their inspiring stories and demonstrate their athletic skill.
  • Senior centres. Senior citizens need to #BeActive too. Club athletes and coaches can introduce a new sport ideal for the elderly and help them to play it. Let them give badminton or croquet a try in the summer, and cross-country skiing or curling in the winter.

Open door days

Sports clubs, especially those operating at a professional level, can appear exclusive to the local communities where they play. Open the doors to your club and introduce your community to the athletes and coaches they root for and admire most. Show visitors the facilities where athletes train and play, and give visitors opportunities to try the club sport themselves.  

It’s a win-win. Sport clubs get to engage fans and connect with their communities, and visitors get hugely inspired on their #BeActive journey.  

The #BeActive Challenge

We challenged all of Europe to #BeActive and prove it with photos and videos on social media. Hundreds of Europeans responded and one winner was chosen every week based on the quality and creativity of the entries. We gave away:

  • 4 GoPros
  • 1 TRX suspension trainer
  • 2 signed football jerseys provided by FIFPro
  • 2 #ItsGreatOutThere outdoor packages provided by the European Outdoor Group (including amazing items from BlackYak, Columbia, Deuter Sport, ISPO, Keen, Mammut, Marmot, McTREK, and ORTOVOX)
  • 2 tickets for the European Championships 2018 provided by the European Broadcasting Union
  • 2 tickets to the European Handball Federation Champions League Final 4

 

Congratulations to all our winners and continue to #BeActive!

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