Around 250,000 Europeans are about to celebrate Europe’s biggest sport and physical activity event, “MOVE Week”, which takes off today with 1,102 events in 32 countries.
The International Sports and Culture Association is leading the way to encourage 100 million more Europeans to become physically active by 2020. More and more health experts are concluding that physical inactivity poses the greatest health risk to Europeans in the future. That is why the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) in partnership with the European Cyclists’ Federation have kick-started NowWeMove and its flagship event, MOVE Week.
A record number of 1,102 events will be held in more than 30 European countries during MOVE Week on October 7-13, with thousands of Europeans running, dancing, cycling, skating, jumping and juggling their way through the continent’s biggest sport and physical activity event. MOVE Week showcases how collaboration across several sectors (including sport, education, urban planning, transport and the media) can ensure that citizens have access to plenty of opportunities to become physically active.
Eight out of MOVE Week events were awarded for their innovative delivery, involvement of local community and successful communication to target groups; the selection process was very hard in order to maximize the leverage of lessons learned, but the outcome is more than satisfying!
“The benefits of recreational sport and physical inactivity are well documented”, says ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby. “MOVE Week is a unique opportunity for all Europeans to start moving together”.
It is indeed a bit of a shock realizing that physical inactivity among European citizens is a bigger threat to public health than smoking. And with two out of three Europeans aged 15 or older fail in meeting recommended amount of 30 minutes exercise per day, physical activity must made it to the political agenda.
MOVE Week is backed by the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Androulla Vassiliou, initiator of the first-ever Commission proposal for a Council recommendation on physical activity (HEPA), points out: “The importance of an active and healthy lifestyle and its social and economic benefits needs to be underlined at all times. MOVE Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness among European citizens. It has been planned thoroughly, with original ideas and builds on successful past experience”.
The European Commission’s survey series, Eurobarometer, has documented how strikingly disproportionate physical activity levels are around Europe. For example, while Danes are among the most physically active, only 18% of Bulgarians participate in sport or another form of exercise regularly. It is this growing gap between nations that has prompted the European Commission to pledge € 1 million in support of MOVE Week in 2013.
Thanks to the efforts and dedication of 550 MOVE Agents, NowWeMove managed to organize creative, accessible and inspiring events while bringing together municipalities, schools, civil society and companies. Coca Cola has joined in the campaign by organizing a MOVE Week specially designed for its 55,000 employees around Europe.
At the same time, Endomondo launched an exciting European challenge just for MOVE Week, inviting countries to get in and engage in a “calorie battle”! In the beginning of MOVE Week already 32,000 participants burned almost 1 million calories via the Endomondo challenge and the number is expected to rise as the challenge gains popularity among the 19 million users of the fitness tracking app.
Time to find your MOVE? Check out the map of MOVE Week events and participate