Once again, this year’s edition of the European Week of Sport exemplified excellent ways to promote a more active and healthier lifestyle when we bring people together. Since launching in 2015 as a response to declining levels of physical activity in Europe, the European Week of Sport has been fighting physical inactivity. This year’s edition, held from 23-30 September, was no exception.
September’s European Week of Sport saw national coordinating bodies and partners organizing countless activities in various locations. The goal was, to increase people’s participation in sporting activity and to improve their wellbeing.
The 2021 edition was notable for organisers tapping into a deep well of creativity to encourage people to take part. The NCBs and partners demonstrated distinct approaches to the task incentivising people into adopting physical activity.
Some of this year’s slogans were catchy and highly motivating. For example, Estonia created the fresh “Get your laziness vaccine!” slogan. Italy encouraged participation with the line “Basta Una Goccia di Sport” (Just a Drop of Sport Suffices).
Meanwhile, other countries such as Bulgaria incorporated the #BeActive hashtag into their slogan: “It’s time to #BeActive again, nothing can stop you”. Greece combined the official hashtag with the Hellenic name for Greece, coming up with the #BeActiveHellas hashtag.
The 2021 European Week of Sport saw many activities promoted around EU Member States. Ranging from fitness dances in car parks choreographed in Cyprus, to relay obstacle courses in Malta, kayaking in Ireland and rugby matches in Italy, there were countless approaches and opportunities.
We also saw a military-grade obstacle course in Lithuania and an acrobatic drum show in Slovakia. We witnessed Olympic Festivals in Slovenia, petanque in Luxembourg, and stayed awake for night-time ice skating in Denmark.
Erasmus+ and #BeActive
In addition, we also had the opportunity to explore what Erasmus Plus programme and Western Balkans/Eastern Partnership countries were doing during the #BeActive European Week of Sport.
Erasmus+ programme countries like Iceland surprised us with the mind-body exercise known as Qigong. A series of gentle exercises, Qigong uses meditation, breath technique and movement to maximize energy and, it is claimed, enables the body to heal itself.
Meanwhile, elderly people could take part in a specially developed course of Tai Chi in Malta.
Also encouraging their people to participate in physical activities, countries from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership such as Bosnia & Herzegovina organised bike routes for little kids. North Macedonia placed a ring in one town square to teach people how to box. In Serbia, they created short competitions for kids taking part in fun sports such as basketball and minigolf, while adults perfected their fencing and basketball skills.
Altogether, national coordinating bodies and partners successfully created fun, inclusive and engaging activities for people across Europe. Age, background and fitness levels did not stop anybody from taking part.