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People who exercise to keep fit [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people who exercise to keep fit.

Most people know they should get more exercise. There is a strong link between physical activity and physical and mental wellbeing, and between membership of associations like sports clubs and community cohesion. But too few Europeans practise any sport or exercise. For many, the issue is not so much motivation as finding the time and opportunities. Initiatives like the European Week of Sport and the sport chapter of Erasmus+ were conceived to show Europeans just how easy it can be to make small but regular amounts of physical activity a habit. Sport and fitness are part of public health policy, which is mostly decided by national governments, but the EU is taking steps to remove barriers to cross-border collaboration and recreation through sport.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

people working out in fitness class

© WavebreakMediaMicro / Fotolia

The European Week of Sport was launched in 2015 and takes place every year in September. The week is an occasion for events across Europe encouraging people of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels to experiment with a physical activity under the hashtag #beactive. This can be anything from yoga at home to outdoor calisthenics, lifting weights at the gym, or something as simple as taking the office stairs. Erasmus+, mostly known for its educational exchanges, also supports sport and fitness through not-for-profit pan-European events; research and data-gathering to inform policy-making; and small collaborative partnerships in areas such as tackling prejudice in sport. The EU is convinced that one way of getting Europeans to be more active is by making it easier to exercise together.

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