European Council Conclusions on Lifelong Physical Activity adopted
On 30 November 2021, the European Council adopted its Conclusions on Lifelong Physical Activity. This recognises the importance of lifelong physical activity for the physical and mental health of individuals, but also the increase in physical inactivity in Europe, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The main priority is the concept of lifelong physical activity and aims to promote regular physical activity throughout life, which can be supported by evidence-based monitoring of physical fitness. The 10-page document therefore calls not only for strengthening measures to promote physical activity, but additionally for better monitoring of physical activity levels. This information can provide reliable evidence for improving measures and draw attention to potential risk behaviours.
In the long term, the Council expects the implementation of such measures to lead to more people exercising more often and more, which would reduce pressure on health systems and health care costs. Member States, the European Commission and civil society organisations are invited to develop initiatives and share best practices for the purpose of promoting lifelong physical activity. It is also strongly recommended in the conclusions that the health benefits of regular physical activity be more strongly emphasised.
Furthermore, the importance of intersectoral cooperation, the role of the media in promoting healthy lifestyles, behavioural changes to integrate physical activity into everyday life, and European initiatives and projects that contribute significantly to the development of such measures and the achievement of these goals are highlighted. When adopting the conclusions, Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister of Sport, said: “Our goal is to promote physical activity and encourage everyone to participate in it. Only a healthy and active Europe can be a resilient and prosperous Europe of the future”.