The second meeting of the European Commission Expert Group “Skills and Human Resources Development in Sport” took place in Split 11-12 July.
EuropeActive’s Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Ageing (PAHA) project has been judged to be a success story by a panel of experts from the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission. It is only one of 15 selected from 237 Erasmus+ projects to be given this special status. The PAHA project focused on a 6-week structured exercise programme to encourage inactive older adults to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. The exercise programmes included a high level of pre-booked fully-supervised training sessions with fitness staff who had previously completed additional training in active ageing and behavioural change. The content and intensity of the scheduled training programmes were gently increased over the 6-week period. From the 669 people who took part in the trials a significant majority of 89% completed the full six weeks.
Within this number was a sub-group of 208 participants (121 females and 87 males), who were tracked using mywellness® keys and had their exercise data stored in the web based platform mywellness® Technogym. One of the main aims of the project was to get 20% of the participants still exercising to the benefit of their health 3 months after they completed their 6-week trial sessions. The results coming from the tracked activity group are especially remarkable with an adherence rate of 78%, compared to 62% of the rest of participants.
Programme Director for EuropeActive Cliff Collins said “We found some very significant data that corroborates the importance of mentoring, guiding and motivating people to exercise in a planned way, and when they feel the positive results themselves it gives them the best reason to continue. We are about finding evidence-based interventions that will genuinely make a difference to people becoming more active and the PAHA project has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of what really works.” After three months the participants on average have moved for 35 minutes at moderate intensity and almost 7 min at high intensity physical activity (a total of 42 minutes) per day. These values far exceed the World Health Organisation/EU recommendations for being considered moderately active (150 minutes/week which corresponds to about 21 minutes/day).
Sir Graham Watson, President of EuropeActive commented that “The success of the PAHA project gives recognition to our Brussels Team for the hard work and vision they have in promoting our sector and the contribution we can make to turn the tide of inactivity. The project has been a significant piece of work that was presented at the Active Ageing Summit in Brussels last year, and I am delighted that it has been chosen as a success story in the Erasmus+ Programme.”
The project was trialled in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, and the UK. The results and findings of the PAHA project together with a Good Practice Guide (available in English, French and German) can be found here. The research was overseen by Prof. Alfonso Jimenez and supported by the Technogym mywellness® platform.