An inner-city community gym was an unusual but inspiring setting for a moving meeting last month, as
"Together We Move" was no ordinary conference. Held on a basketball court in a disused school the UK charity Street Games transformed into a thriving community sports hub, the meeting showed the incredible things that can be achieved when like-minded partners work together.
But can partnership and a shared ambition do even more? The message from "Together We Move" was a resounding "yes." Inactivity is one of the most serious social issues in Europe, where only 22 percent of 11 year-old girls and 30 percent of boys meet the daily recommendation for one hour of moderate physical activity. The older children get, the less physically active they become. More people are dying from a lack of exercise than from smoking.
Opening the conference,
“To make a real difference, we must work with partners," he said. "No single food or drink is responsible for the issue of inactivity, and no one organization, government or company can address it alone.”
Speaking to an audience of academics, experts and active lifestyle program organizers, Quincey added, “You, our partners, bring with you expertise, experience and local knowledge.
Speakers provided compelling evidence about the health benefits of a more active population, including showing how active lifestyles boost well-being and happiness. Nic Marks, founding director of Happiness Works, said happiness and activity form a "virtuous circle" that can be a powerful social tool, broadening our perception of the world, making us more creative and engaged. However, given that 33 percent of British people are so inactive they may as well be asleep, Marks said the challenge we face is daunting.
The conference also explored the science of behavioral change – how to persuade people to shift their embedded habits and perceptions to make them more active. Nick Stanhope, CEO of We Are What We Do, argued that active and healthy behavior needs to become the new normal by linking it with things that people love, and demand, to do. He said that brands like
The Together We Move audience was encouraged to "walk the talk" with a series of activities designed to get their bodies, as well as their minds, moving. Guests enjoyed guided walks between all the venues, collecting points as they went using the Beat The Streets swipe card system. Funded by The
The two-day conference highlighted some of the biggest active lifestyle programs Coke supports in Europe, including Mission Olympic in Germany, a partnership with the German Olympic Sports Confederation to find Germany’s most active city. Every year, more than 120,000 citizens run, jump, dance, throw and lift to help their town win the coveted title and a €75,000 prize. Delegates also learned about Mission Olympic in the Netherlands, an inter-school, multi-sport contest supported by
The conference also focused on the
Insights from other
The conference has sparked a lively conversation on social media, especially around #togetherwemove on Twitter. Join the debate and add your thoughts – Together We Move is the start of a journey, and the more who come along the quicker we can all help to get Europe moving.