The project IN COMMON SPORTS -INTERGENERATIONAL COMPETITION AS MOTIVATION FOR SPORT AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE OF SENIOR CITIZENS 2018 - 2020 is a collaborative partnership co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. This project brings together five European countries and six organizations: Municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal), Municipality of Cesena (Italy), Viana do Castelo Polytechnic Institute (Portugal), University of Thessaly (Greece), Aksakovo Municipality (Bulgaria) and Zoldpont Association (Hungary) ensuring a European dimension and representing some of the countries with the lowest rates of sports practice and countries with high rates of ageing in the European Union.
Based on the results evidenced by the 2015 Intergenerational Olympics Project promoted by the Municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira co-funded by the ERASMUS + programme (Not-for-profit European sport events) and the ageing challenges of the regions involved, the project aims, among other objectives, to expand the knowledge of the motivational factors for the continuous practice of physical exercise in the elderly population and the impact of the "Intergenerational Olympics“ on the physical and mental fitness of the elderly.
The project will develop the study "Physical Fitness and Cognitive Performance of the Elderly - Competition as an Additional Motivation for Promoting an Active Lifestyle" involving more than 350 participants from the five countries and the implementation of 15 "intergenerational Olympics" 500 senior participants. In addition, the project was designed to ensure participation and impact in local complementary organizations, such as social, voluntary, youth and sports associations, ensuring at least the involvement of 80 local organizations. During the project implementation, it is also expected to deliver two open educational resources related to this segment.
SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
The high dependency ratio of the elderly in the regions involved in this project, and consequently the contribution to the increase of health expenses and to the unsustainability of the societies are constant concerns of the local institutions, especially of the Municipalities that daily deal with the senior population and seek to stimulate and motivate their citizens to adopt healthy lifestyles.
Based on these common challenges, the consortium of partners, which includes the municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira(PT), the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo(PT), the municipality of Cesena(IT), University of Vigo(ES), the municipality of Aksakovo(BG), and the association Zöldpont(HU) proposed deepen the knowledge of motivational factors for the promotion of an active lifestyle in the elderly population and the impact of the competition “Intergenerational Olympics 2015” on the physical and mental fitness of the elderly.
Through a set of integrated actions,namely the sharing and dissemination of good practices, the development of the study “Physical fitness and cognitive performance of the elderly population - Planned competition as additional motivation for an active lifestyle", and the organization of sport competitions aimed at people aged 60 and over, new activities were identified and promoted that encourage the integration of this target audience into sports programs and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
To achieve this goal,901 elderly people were involved in this study, who participated in different project activities: training sessions, assessments and competitions/sports days. The study involved 43 evaluators and 418 evaluated older adults. More than 1300 evaluations were developed, and more than 186120 data related to: demographic data, body composition, physical and cognitive health status, physical fitness, and motivational aspects towards sports practice were analyzed.The data obtained throughout the life of the project allowed us to know the reasons why the elderly performed physical exercise depending on the country of residence, identify the physical state of the elderly according to age, sex and country residence, determine the effect of physical exercise on the physical condition and health of older adults, establish the relationship between strength levels and the quality of life perceived by older adults and study the relationship between physical condition and the health of the elderly. It was possible to study the benefits of physical activity on the physical and cognitive well-being of people over 60 years and to verify the validity of the motivational level associated with the objective of a competition, on the propensity to exercise regularly in this age group.The data produced allowed us to publish by media and public entities, present in national/international conferences and disseminate in scientific journals (Raw and analysed data available on website).In addition, because of the dissemination actions that were carried out in the form of competitions and sporting events, the project promoted the concept of active and healthy lifestyles in the cities involved as a basis for a better quality of life, opening the opportunity to attract more people to practice a sport regularly. Whether through teamwork focused on competition, or through the socialization among the participants that arises from it, it was unequivocally validated that competition works as a motivating factor to increase the levels of physical activity in the elderly, who have maintained high participation rates and a low dropout rate. For all this, it was demonstrated that the introduction of competition as a motivational factor was an innovative aspect and an added value of this project.
PROMOTING SOCIAL INCLUSION TRHOUGH SPORTS (SHORT VERSION)
PROMOTING SOCIAL INCLUSION TRHOUGH SPORTS (DETAILED VERSION)
- Establish a transnational cooperation network, in the field of sport, between, local, regional, and national stakeholders to promote grassroots sport in the elderly and vulnerable groups, and to develop, identify, promote and share good practices;
- Carry out the longitudinal study “Physical fitness and cognitive performance of the aged population – planned competition as additional motivation for active life style”(1) in Portugal, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary. This study intends to:
- assess the impact of a sport competition in the participants, and analyse the association between physical activity level, physical fitness and cognitive performance of the elderly in, at least, 5 countries;
- investigate the impact of additional events such as “intergenerational games” on physical fitness status and healthy life style, on aged population;
- understand the motivation for systematic physical activity on aged population;
- examine the exercise-related changes on cardio-metabolic markers for health, on aged population;
- create int rgenerational links for social inclusion;
- drive and contribute to the development of more effective health promotion policies and strategies.
- Test and implement the concept of Intergenerational Olympics as tool for integration vulnerable groups in sport Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary;
- Creation of a guide with the survey of good local practice of physical activity programs for senior citizens – Disseminate this guide in local private and public organizations with all the information and tools necessary for their replication;
- Design of physical activity programs adjusted to the critical parameters of physical fitness detected in the study in order to prevent loss of functional mobility that affects the quality of life, loss of autonomy and independence of the elderly people.