On 30th November 2021, the European Council adopted its new Conclusions on Lifelong Physical Activity. Recognizing the importance of physical activity throughout an individual’s life for physical and mental health, it also acknowledges the rise of physical inactivity in Europe, which has worsened due to the pandemic. The concept of lifelong physical activity, which was one of the key priorities of the Slovenian Presidency, is to promote regular physical activity throughout one’s life, which can be supported by evidence-based lifelong monitoring of physical fitness.
These Conclusions therefore call for a strengthening of physical activity promotion policies, as well as for better monitoring of physical activity levels. Indeed, such information can provide reliable evidence to improve policies and to draw attention to potential risk behaviors. The long-term impact of the implementation of such policies would be to have more people, more active, more often, which will reduce pressure on health systems and health-related costs. Member States, the European Commission, and civil society organisations are invited to continue promoting lifelong physical activity, with a focus on reducing inactivity, by developing and supporting initiatives and sharing best practices. Further highlighting the health benefits of regular exercise is also strongly recommended.
In addition to calling attention to the many positive aspects of health enhancing physical activity and proper monitoring, this document also emphasizes the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation, the role of the media in promoting healthy lifestyles, behavioral changes to integrate physical activity into everyday life, and European initiatives and projects which greatly contribute to the development of such policies and to the achievement of these aims.
On the adoption of the Conclusions, Ms Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister of Sport, said that “Our aim is to promote physical activity and encourage everyone to take part in it. Only a healthy and active Europe can be a resilient and prosperous Europe of the future.” A proper monitoring system, encouraging physical activity at all ages, would contribute to this.
Read the Council Conclusions here.