A recent report and panel discussion on physical activity and recreational sports is trying to tackle the issue of inaccessibility for many people that has been made worse during the pandemic.
The Change for Good Health report was released on Tuesday, May 25th with a panel of experts, and the host of the panel, Impakt CEO Paul Klein, says being active and the means to do so simply isn't available to everyone and the pandemic has exposed that problem even more.
"It was a really important issue that existed for a long time that was being amplified as a result of COVID, and was impacting vulnerable people disproportionately."
Klein, who hosted the panel featuring athletes, doctors and other fitness industry experts, says their goal is to create an agenda and guideline to make access to sport, recreation and fitness equitable for everyone. The idea for the panel and report, with more discussions from the panel planned for the future, was introduced to Klein by Goodlife Fitness founder David Patchell-Evans. Klein says they're hoping this approach gets more people and government leaders to listen.
"Out of all this we created a kind of agenda for change that's in the blueprint and we're very optimistic that people, unlike other things, will listen to this at a time when it matters most."
On top of pandemic making the issues already facing many people worse in terms of accessing physical activity, many of the barriers, as Klein alluded to, have existed for a long time. Issues like inclusion and acceptance of certain groups and populations persisted long before COVID, and that is one of 6 key agenda targets the new report addresses. Those targets are:
-Accomplish more together by building the tools and partnerships to share lessons and best practices across the health and wellness sector.
-Democratize physical activity. Build accessible and inclusive sport, recreation, and physical activity programs.
-Make sport and physical activity a welcoming and safe space for all.
-Make physical activity approachable, relevant and relatable. Set achievable goals for physical activity and involve marginalized communities in developing programs.
-Ensure those who deliver programming are equipped to address the social and mental health impacts of physical inactivity.
-Start early with health literacy. Incorporate movement at an early age and work to build a foundation in health literacy that will set people up for success.
With that in mind, Klein says as an example, many people assume accessing exercise and recreational activities is easy, but even "low cost" sports like soccer and basketball can be a challenge for some.
"Things that are generally thought to be low cost community sports activities, well you know what, some people can't affords to buy the proper shoes, for example. Even soccer, there's a fee, you have to pay for it at some level, and many people can't afford that on top of transport to and from games, for instance."
For more information on Change for Good Health, visit https://impaktcorp.com/change-for-good/change-for-good-health/.