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Competition as a key motivational factor for physical activity in the elderly: several studies have been conducted in recent years to determine/understand the motivations of individuals to maintain physical exercise.

A significant part of those studies demonstrates that the competition is relegated to the last places on the motivational scale, and issues related to the well-being and health of individuals, occupy the top places. Nevertheless, studies whose sample consists of elderly people from several countries, and that correlate the motivational factors for the continued practice of physical exercise are scarce. Based on our experience, and the promotion of the "Intergenerational Olympics" (Project Reference: 560956-EPP-1-2015-1-EN-SPO-SNCESE), the "competition" factor was valued as a motivator for the continued practice of physical exercise.

Thus, the longitudinal study that we propose in this project - “Physical fitness and cognitive performance of the aged population – planned competition as additional motivation for active lifestyle”, intends to provide new/innovate evidence related to the motivation factors for systematic physical activity in aged population in order to conduct and contribute to the development of more effective health promotion policies and strategies.

Three competitions are expected to take place in each of the 5 countries involved in the project, on the following dates– September 2018 – September – 2019 and September 2020. Each involved region will execute its event under supervision of the project leader. The event will involve six different competitions, 4 sports modalities and 2 optional, according to traditional games of the involved regions (for example, in the Portuguese case the modalities are petanque and rope traction), and the events should embrace, at least, 100 participants in each involved region. It is anticipated that the competition will work as additional motivation for better physical activity practice and improve life quality. The conditional capacity, such as muscle strength and cardiorespiratory capacity, and cognitive performance will be stimulated with evident benefices for individuals. On the other hand, with the creation of conditions for the regular practice of physical activity, as well as the dynamics created (Olympics 2018 and 2019), it is foreseen that the competition in 2020 and in the following years will be held in each region without the EU support.

Watch all the videos of the competitions here: