top of page

Small-scale partnerships


Tracking the Emotional skills for Organisational support in VET Curricula




Field of Studies
Vocational Education Training 

Transnational Events

  • Italy (TREVISO)

  • Spain (Albacete)

01-09-2023 - 31/08/2025
(24 months)

At least 6 virtual meetings will be held within the duration of the activity.



Inclusion and diversity in all fields of education, training, youth

and sport- exceptional costs

Increasing attractiveness of VET: Increasing the flexibility of opportunities


  • Cooperation between Sport-VET-education-research

and Pedagogy and didactics 

  • Creating new, innovative or joint curricula and courses for Physical Education-teachers-trainers-Volleyball training Providers

Coordinator and PARTNERS










AVEIRO (Portugal)

Financial aspects

BUDGET: LUMP SUM 60.000,00


Carlo Urio



Mobile: +39 3495393182

Giorgia Costalonga



Mobile: +39 342 1218168

1st kick-off meeting held in Paese on January 16, 2024,

with partners Dramblys - Spain, Aeva - Portugal, and the Municipality of Belluno, featuring institutional greetings from Mayor Dr. Katia Uberti.

Immagine WhatsApp 2024-02-06 ore 14.50.24_ab240737.jpg



Transnational meeting online: April 15, 2024

Activity 1

Comparing good practice and approaches to the effective process of innovative educational leadership

Emotional Intelligence (EI) describes the way an individual manages one’s own and others’ emotions. In the context of sports, higher EI has been associated with more successful performance and coping.

A study was made of existing best practices in the 3 partnership countries [Italy, Portugal and Spain] and identified the 6 best (2 per EU country) and on that basis with athletes have shown that EI can be improved through training.

However, the present study is the first evaluating an EI VET training specifically designed for sport coaches, training leaders and sport psychologists sports (n = 8 athletes, n = 24 coaches).

 Therefore, 32 selected expert from Italy, Portugal and Spain of Volleyball and sitting Volley sports (e.g., recreational to international level) were randomized into intervention group (EI training) and control group (health and well-being training).

Both trainings (5 MODULES - 1 Model Course "The relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Emotional capital ‘Performance in Sport domain and VET Sector") consisted of 14 days (14 sessions of 10-15 minutes), and in response to coaches’ needs for accessible and time effective training tools they were carried out online.

Coaches’ EI and beliefs in their coaching skills (i.e., coaching efficacy) were assessed before and after the training. We found that coaches’ interpersonal emotional competencies, game strategy efficacy, and team efficacy improved in the intervention group, but not in the control group. In addition, results replicated a positive correlation between EI and coaching efficacy. The present study contributes to EI research and coaching science, especially by addressing the call for empirically evaluated coaching education. Overall, we can recommend the implementation of an EI training for coaches in applied sport psychological work and for coaching education programs.


An EI training addressing coaches’ needs for accessible and time effective training through an online-based format was evaluated. Compared to a control group training, the EI training enhanced coaches’ interpersonal emotional competencies and their perceived skills to influence athletes in competitions (game strategy efficacy) and their team dynamics (team efficacy).

  • Coaches’ emotional competencies can be trained.

  • The online-based training format addresses coaches’ needs and preferences and is promising to reach a great number of coaches.

  • We recommend sports psychologists and sports federations integrate the EI training into their counseling process and education program.


To date, research on teamwork in Volleyball and SittingVolley sport has largely focused on defining the construct and examining its relationships to emergent states and outcomes. By comparison, little is known about the antecedents:​

  • Leadership

  • What is Emotional Intelligence

  • What Emotional Intelligence IS NOT

  • Power of Emotion in Communication

  • Competencies for Emotional Intelligence

  • Need to Improve Emotional Intelligence, Improving Your Emotional Intelligence, Model for Self-Directed Change

  • Thinking, Feeling, and Acting

  • What Causes Us to Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

  • Developing the Emotional Intelligence

  • Ways to Develop Emotional Intelligence

  • Utilise an Assertive Style of Communicating

  • Respond Instead of Reacting to Conflict

  • Practice Self-Awareness; Empathise with Others; Take Criticism Well

  • Habits and Emotional Intelligence

  • How We Take in Information

  • Changing Past Conditioning

  • How to Change Your Past Conditioning

  • Avoiding Conflict

  • Managing and Handling Conflict

  • Conflict at the Workplace

  • Conflict Management

  • Steps to Managing Conflict

  • Steps to Managing Conflict – Problem Solving Process; Techniques for Avoiding Conflict

  • Communication Styles

  • Listening

  • Barriers to Active Listening

  • How to Be a Good Listener?

  • Use of Voice

  • Empathy

  • Harness the Power of Emotion in Communication

  • Role of Emotions

  • Emotional Awareness

  • Emotion Strategies

  • Behaviours Demonstrating Higher EQ

  • Levels of EQ

  • Communicating a Difficult Message

  • Self Confidence Skills for Improved Emotional Intelligence

  • Self Confidence Skills

  • Positive Attitude

  • Conversation

  • Body Language

  • Presentation

  • Workplace Challenges

  • Development Focus for Emotional Intelligence that promote teamwork behaviors in Volleyball and Sittingvolley team sports for an effective process of innovative educational leadership.

  • Self Confidence Skills for Improved Emotional Intelligence


The purpose of this PHASE 1 (Comparing good practices and approaches to the effective process of innovative educational leadership)  was to explore what specifically Volleyball coaches can do to develop an wellbeing teamwork within their teams, learn to captivate people by harnessing the power of emotions through innovative training on emotional intelligence.

Using a critical realist approach, we conducted 15 semi-structured interviews with participants who competed in Volley and Sitting Volley team sports (athletes, coaches, referee).

The data were thematically analyzed whereby three higher-order themes (comprising nine subthemes) were generated. The themes included (1) Crafting a teamwork recipe, (2) Come together, stay together, and (3) Maximizing EI teamwork in action. 

Specifically, coaches can facilitate teamwork by:

  1. (re)structuring selection practices, carefully considering team compositions, and encouraging role commitment (Theme 1);

  2. emphasizing coach-athlete relationships, promoting meaningful connections between teammates, and managing perceptions of favoritism (Theme 2);

  3. crafting team-focused tactics, promoting athlete-led teamwork, and managing healthy internal competition (Theme 3).


In summary, coaches appear to play an important role in facilitating teamwork. Specifically, coaches could consider looking beyond individual talent and EI skill during the team selection process, promoting strong bonds with their players and amongst teammates, and focusing on team-first training and execution tactics.


This study explored how team sport Volleyball coaches might facilitate teamwork within their teams. Based on interviews with 24 coaches and 8 athletes, we identified how coaches utilize the following factors to promote teamwork:

  • team selection, roles, coach-athlete relationships, athlete-to-athlete support, favoritism, tactical systems, athlete leadership, and internal competition.

  • Coaches can facilitate teamwork when selecting teams and assigning roles by looking beyond individual skill and talent and, instead, focusing on the ideal combinations of players that maximize teamwork. As part of this, coaches can promote a training and competition environment that focuses on collective performance over any one individual performance.

  • Creating time and opportunities for the development of coach-athlete and athlete-athlete relationships is an important component of teamwork promotion.

  • Coaches could empower athletes with opportunities to lead their team’s preparations and reflections (e.g., goal setting, performance evaluations), and encouraging training


Experience live, interactive learning in ITALY (at PHOENIX in PAESE and in Municipality of Belluno), in SPAIN (at DRAMBLYS) and in PORTUGAL (at AEVA) with The DRAMBLYS Academy's Online Instructor and platform-led Emotional Intelligence Training (starting From 2 May 2024 till 30.09.2024).  One of the key insights from the science of happiness and emerged from the analysis and comparison of existing good practices in Italy, Spain, Portugal in particular is that our own personal happiness depends heavily on our relationships with others.

By tuning into the needs of other people, we actually enhance our own emotional well-being. The same is true within sport organizations:

  • those that foster trusting, cooperative relationships are more likely to have a more satisfied, engaged—and more productive and innovative—workforce, with greater employee loyalty and retention.


The new EI MODEL Course delves into the social and emotional skills that sustain positive relationships  in the daily reality of volleyball work.

It highlights the foundational and related skills of empathy and “emotional intelligence,” also known as EQ, which refers to the skills of identifying and regulating our own feelings, tuning into the feelings of others and understanding their perspectives, and using this knowledge to guide us toward constructive social interactions.

Drawing on research and real-world 6 case studies (IT, ES and PT), the course reveals how honing these skills promotes well-being within an sport organization or a VET Institute (during physical education hours), supporting everything from good management—managers high in empathy, for example, have coaches, physical education teachers, referees who report being happier and take fewer sick days—to more effective teamwork, problem solving, and recovery from setbacks).

The EI MODEL Course also explains the psychological and neuroscientific roots of cooperative, compassionate behaviors, making the case that these are not just “soft” skills but core aspects of human nature that serve basic human needs as well as the bottom line.


What’s more, it offers practical ways to strengthen empathy, trust, and collaboration among Coaches-teacher PE- Trainers, athletes and resolve conflicts more constructively—with a special emphasis on how socially intelligent leadership can build cultures of belonging and engagement.

Here they take a central insight from that EI course—that our personal well-being is entwined with our social connections—and explain how to apply it to the modern from the Sports Domain to the Workplace to create more productive, satisfying experiences at work.

The 32 beneficiaries will engage directly with experienced instructors, mirroring the class syllabus defined by DRAMBLYS experts for a comprehensive learning pathway, based on the analysis of existing best practices identified during the period (01.09.23-31.12.23).

Let us enjoy the convenience of learning both in presence and in virtual without compromising the quality of interaction, coordinated by Ms. Amaia San Cristobal and Pablo Moreno).

EI Life-Skill Transfer from the Sports Domain to the VolleyBall and Sitting Volley Workplace

Despite the health and well-being benefits of physical activity, many people in the European Union do not move enough. This chapter provides an overview of physical activity levels in Europe, and explores patterns and trends, such as differences across age, gender and socio-economic groups. It also looks at the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on physical activity.  Emotional Intelligence Life-skill  transfer refers to the process wherein an individual develops a personal asset, internalises it, and then experiences personal change through the application of the asset in a domain beyond the context where it was originally learnt (Pierce et al., 2017).

In this PHASE 1, we explore the process of Emotional Intelligence Life-skill transfer from the sports domain to the Volleyball and Sitting Volley workplace (at gyms, at school during physical education hours, during competitions and competitions) and how participation in the sport of Volleyball can influence our experience at work. In 2023, 73% of adults in EU participated in some form of physical activity or sport weekly (Excelsior data 23). It is widely accepted that participation in leisure-time physical activity can have a significant positive effect on an individual's mental and physical health both in general (Mandolesi et al., 2018) and at work (Puig-Ribera et al., 2015; Ryde & Brown, 2017).

In addition to the positive health outcomes associated with leisure time physical activity, it has been shown that participation in organised sport can provide individuals with additional benefits such as EI life-skill development (Logan et al., 2019). The development of EI life skills in Volleyball sports-based positive youth development programs (Newman et al., 2021) and team sports environments (Danish et al., 2023) has been widely documented.

However, there is less known about whether or to what extent these SOFT  skills transfer from the sports domain to the workplace.

With such a large percentage of EU youth participating in organised sport (71%) every week (Sport EU, 2023) there is a need to understand how the EI life skills developed through their participation can transfer to the work domain as they enter adolescence and adulthood. Organised sport participation decreases as people get older with only 11% of EU adults participating weekly (Sport EU, 2023). If more is known about the benefits of organised sport in relation to life-skill transfer, then there may be a case for organisations to consider organised sport participation in the recruitment process when looking for desired life skills. 8 For the purpose of this study, I will be differentiating between physical activity and sport. Sport is defined as an organised activity run by a group or club that has regular competition, is working towards an end goal, and is governed by a set of rules.

Whereas, physical activity is the act of exercising for yourself as a way to maintain physical or mental health, or for enjoyment. There is no set structure or competition involved in physical activity and there is no reliance on others for it to occur.

Key messages
  • The prevalence of insufficient physical activity was already high before the COVID-19 pandemic: more than one in three adults did not meet the WHO physical activity guidelines, and almost half (45%) reported that they never exercise or play sport.

  • Physical inactivity is also prevalent in adolescents, with less than one in five (17.6%) boys and one in ten (9.6%) girls across 27 EU Member States reporting to meet their WHO recommendation in 2018.

  • Women and older people are less likely to do regular sports or exercise: among 15 to 24-year-olds, 73% of men participate at least weekly in sports or exercise, compared to 58% of women.

  • People from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to exercise regularly (only 24% of people who consider themselves working class exercises regularly, versus 51% of upper-class people), but occupational physical activity is less common in higher socio-economic groups.

  • Drivers of physical inactivity include urbanisation and economic development, environments that prioritise motorised travel, and a decrease in occupational and household physical activity.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic further worsened the situation, with more than half of adults reporting a reduction in their frequency of physical activity.


More than one in three European adults does not do enough physical activity


Despite the well-established benefits of leading a physically active lifestyle and the broader public health impact of reducing chronic disease risk and premature mortality, too many adults and children are insufficiently physically active across Europe. While different measurement approaches result in different estimates of the prevalence of insufficient physical activity, most confirm that it is common.

The WHO combines and adjusts data on insufficient physical activity from different sources, to provide global estimates of the prevalence of insufficient physical activity. Based on this data, more than one in three (35.4%) adults in the 27 EU Member States were insufficiently active in 2021. Insufficient physical activity was particularly prevalent in some Southern-European countries, while less frequent in Nordic countries.


Figure 1. Prevalence of insufficient physical activity (less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or equivalent) among adults aged 18+ years, crude estimate (%), 2021

Measuring physical activity in Europe

To establish accurate prevalence data and to monitor changes and trends in physical activity, valid, reliable and regular measures are required (Van Hecke et al., 2023). Physical activity can be measured either objectively or subjectively. Traditionally, physical activity is assessed by means of self-reported questionnaires. Across Europe, different questionnaires are used.

Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ)

The GPAQ was developed by WHO for physical activity surveillance in countries. It collects information on physical activity participation in three domains as well as on sedentary behaviour, using 16 questions. The domains are: (1) activity at work, (2) travel to and from places, and (3) recreational activities (WHO,). The GPAQ is also part of the WHO STEPwise approach to NCD risk factor surveillance (STEPS) survey, often used in Eastern European and Central Asian countries (WHO).



Eurobarometer questionnaire

The Special Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity has been conducted in the EU Member States since 2002 (European Commission, 2022). The Eurobarometer questionnaire comprises six items that ask about physical activity via the number of days of vigorous activity, moderate activity (excluding walking), and walking for at least 10 minutes in the last 7 days and the respective daily duration in order to assess the levels of physical activity according to the WHO’s recommendations. It also asks about the frequency of exercising or playing sports, and of other physical activity such as cycling or gardening.

Single-item measure (SIM)

The SIM uses a past-week recall period asking about the number of days with at least 30 minutes of physical activity with an intensity that raises the breathing rate, including sport, exercise, walking, and cycling for recreation, but excluding household and work-related physical activity (Milton, Bull and Bauman, 2022).

The choice of the measuring instrument largely affects survey outputs, and using the Eurobarometer questionnaire can result in more favourable PA prevalence data compared to using other instruments (Stassen et al., 2021). For example, estimating the prevalence of achieving the recommended physical activity levels by a single-item measure or by the Eurobarometer questionnaire led to almost a three times difference within the same sample (SIM 31.3% vs. Eurobarometer 87.5%).


At national level, data on physical activity are provided by national surveys that differ in the applied methodology and definitions of “physically active”. Therefore, between-countries comparison is difficult. Most of these national surveys are based on questionnaires, but in some cases more objective assessment methods (e.g. pedometers or accelerometers) are also being used. Data on physical activity levels from national sources is available in the HEPA country factsheets which are regularly published on the WHO website (WHO, 2021).

Data from the latest Eurobarometer survey reported that, in 2022, four in ten (38%) adults in the EU exercise or play sport at least once a week, including 6% who do so at least five times per week (Figure 2) (European Commission, 2022). Almost half of the respondents (45%) claimed that they never exercise or play sport. In addition, half of respondents (50%) reported to do other physical activities, such as cycling, dancing or gardening, at least once a week, while 31% never do this kind of activity at all.


Figure 2. Physical activity in the European Union. Proportion of adults who reported doing sport and exercise, or other physical activity, regularly, with some regularity, seldom and never, weighted average for EU27, 2022

On average, four in ten adults in the EU exercise regularly, but there is considerable variation across countries. While in Finland more than two-thirds of adults does sport or exercise weekly, in other countries this is one in five. Nordic countries also see higher rates of participation in other forms of physical activity, like cycling or gardening. Generally, countries with high participation in sport and exercise also see high participation in other forms of physical activity. Notable exceptions are the

Spain and Portugal, which have below average levels of sport and exercise but higher participation in other forms of physical activity, while in Ireland the opposite is true.

While participation in sports and exercise changed little between 2017 and 2022 on average in the EU, weekly participation in other forms of physical activity increased – with the EU average going from 44% to 53%. Some countries saw considerable increases in the amount of physical activity practiced by adults. Portugal on the other hand saw participation in both forms of physical activity decrease.


Figure 3. Physical activity trends in adults. Proportion of adults who reported doing sport and exercise, or other physical activity, at least once a week, in 2017 and 2022

Physical activity becomes less frequent with age, as only one in four adults in the EU above the age of 55 years participates in sport or exercise at least once a week (Figure 4). Across all age groups, fewer women than men participate in sport and exercise. Especially in the youngest age group of 15 to 24-year-olds, the difference between sexes is large: 73% of men participate at least weekly in sport or exercise, compared to 58% of women. While for other



forms of physical activity the difference between age groups and sexes is less pronounced, young men remain the most active.


Figure 4. Physical activity by age and sex. Proportion of adults who reported doing sport and exercise, or other physical activity, at least once a week, weighted average for EU27, 2022

Source: European Commission, (2022[7]), Special Eurobarometer SP525: Sport and physical activity,

Looking at Eurobarometer data for EU Member States, there is a clear socio-economic gradient. Adults who almost never have difficulty paying bills engage in sport and exercise more frequently than adults who often have difficulties paying (Figure 5). Similarly, only 24% of people who consider themselves working class exercise at least once a week, versus 51% of people who consider themselves upper class. However, the pattern is different when considering other types of physical activity. People with a high socio-economic status tend to be more physically active during leisure-time compared to those with low socio-economic position, while occupational physical activity is more prevalent among the lower socio-economic groups (Beenackers et al., 2021; Stalsberg and Pedersen, 2022).


Figure 5. Sport or exercise in adults by socio-economic group. Proportion of adults who reported doing sport and exercise regularly, with some regularity, seldom and never, by socio-economic group, weighted average for EU27, 2022

Low physical activity is also common among adolescents, particularly among girls: across 26 EU Member States only 17.6% of boys and 9.6% of girls reported meeting the WHO recommendation of at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily in 2021 (Figure 6). Italy and Portugal report some of the lowest levels of physical activity among adolescents. In Spain, boys do better compared to the EU average than girls. Between 2014 and 2021 there was a decrease in physical activity levels for boys: the proportion of boys engaging in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day decreased from 20.3% to 17.6% (Figure 6).


Figure 6. Physical activity trends in adolescents. Proportion of 15-year-olds who report at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, in 2014 and 2021

As in adults, physical activity rates in children and adolescents decline with age: while on average 24% of children aged 11 reported at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, this decreased to 19% at age 13, and 15% at age 15 (WHO, 2020). Younger children are even more active: a recently published study that involved more than 150 000 children aged 6-9 years from 25 European countries using data from the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in 2015-17 found that 79% were actively playing for more than one hour each day, 46% were members of a sport or dancing club, 50% walked or cycled to school each day, 60% engaged in screen time for less than two hours per day, and 85% slept for 9-11 hours per night as recommended (Whiting et al., 2020).

In many countries there is a socio-economic gradient, where higher affluence is associated with higher levels of physical activity in adolescents (Figure 7) (WHO, 2020). This gradient is larger for boys than for girls in most countries, and on average in 26 EU Member States, the proportion of boys from highly affluent families who meet the physical activity guidelines is 8 percentage points higher than boys from less affluent families. Physical activity among girls from affluent families is on average 6 percentage points higher than among girls from less affluent families.


However, the socio-economic gradient for adolescents needs to be interpreted with caution. A systematic review on social patterning of physical activity in adolescents found that while on a whole the results showed that adolescents with higher socio-economic status are more physically active than those with lower socio-economic status, the findings were far from uniform across studies, and a large number found no or the opposite effect.


Figure 7. Physical activity in children and adolescents by socio-economic group. Percentage point difference in prevalence of reporting at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily between low and high family affluence groups, for children and adolescents aged 11, 13, and 15, in 2021

Insufficient physical activity is driven by economic development, urbanisation, environmental and occupational factors

Similar to obesity, insufficient physical activity is related to rapid economic development (Kohl et al., 2012). This is particularly evident and of concern in low- and middle-income countries, where occupational, domestic, and transport-related physical activities contribute more to overall energy expenditure than leisure time or recreational activities. Increasing urbanisation and rapid economic development have been linked to reductions in domestic and occupational physical activity in adults, as well as increased television viewing in children (Kohl et al., 2012]; Ng and Popkin, 2012]; Dearth-Wesley, Popkin and Ng, 2014).

Evidence is mounting to suggest a causal relationship between the built environment and people’s physical activity behaviours, particularly active transport (e.g. biking, walking). People living in more “walkable” environments that are safe and attractive are more prone to active transport and have higher levels of physical activity (Mackett and Brown, 2011). Opting for a compact urbanisation that prioritises the needs of pedestrians is much better for promoting physical activity than environments that prioritise motor vehicles. Choosing active transportation is not only a personal decision. How cities are designed and the efficiency of their transport network are key in favouring or hampering active transport, and thereby, the levels of physical activity.

Currently, occupational physical activity is still the largest contributor of adults’ weekly physical activity (Ng and Popkin, 2012). However, different types of jobs result in different degrees of activity, and some occupations such as office jobs are associated with a significant amount of sitting time. These types of jobs have increased considerably over the last decades: while in the early 1960s almost half of private industry occupations in the United States required at least moderate intensity physical activity, now less than one in five demand this level of activity (Church et al., 2011). It is estimated that in France less than one in four men (22.9%) and less than one in eight women (11.9%) occupied moderate or vigorous intensity jobs in 2009 (Graf and Cecchini, 2019).

It is important to note that some evidence suggests that work-related physical activity may not have the same mental health benefits as leisure-time physical activity. One systematic review found that while leisure-time physical activity and transport physical activity both had a positive association with good mental health, work-related physical activity was negatively associated with mental health (White et al., 2017). However, another European study found that doing any level of physical activity in any domain was associated with a lower prevalence of moderate, moderate-severe, and severe depressive symptoms (Cocker et al., 2021).


Physical activity decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, the world started experiencing an extraordinary change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments in Europe responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with various measures intended to slow down the transmission of the virus. These nation-wide restrictions, particularly the closure of schools, parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities,


reduced the possibilities for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. On average physical activity levels appear to have dropped, despite some people increasing their physical activity.

One systematic review conducted mid-2020 found that, of 26 studies (which include studies from Italy, Spain, Croatia, Germany and Greece) that measured the change in the amount of time spent being physically active by adults, all but one reported overall decreases in physical activity level pre- versus post-COVID-19 lockdown (Stockwell et al., 2021). A multinational survey across 14 countries (including 7 EU Member States: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain) found that self-reported moderate to vigorous activity as well as vigorous activity in adults declined, by 41% and 42% respectively, during COVID-19 restrictions (Wilke et al., 2021). While the study found no major differences between men and women, young and old participants saw greater decreases in physical activity than middle-aged people.

While there are signs that in some cases lockdown actually encouraged exercise and the development of new routines, this does not appear to make up for the overall loss in physical activity. A large number of studies show that while some people increased their physical activity during lockdown, a larger proportion saw a decrease in their activity levels (Stockwell et al., 2021). Similarly, the Eurobarometer study found that while 9% of respondents increased their physical activity level, more than half reduced their physical activity – with 34% being active less frequently and 18% stopped being active completely (European Commission, 2022).


Figure 8. Changes in physical activity due to COVID-19. Reported change in the frequency of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, percentage of respondents

For children and adolescents, results are not straightforward. While some studies reported a decline in physical activity (Paterson et al., 2021), others found that the amount of physical activity did not change (Kovacs et al., 2021). However, many studies that looked at the type of physical activity agreed that the characteristics of sport and exercise changed and shifted towards less intensive activities such as walking and cycling. This may explain the drop in cardiorespiratory fitness documented in some countries since the outbreak of the pandemic (Jurak et al., 2021]; Jarnig, Jaunig and van Poppel, 2021). In addition, studies consistently reported increases in screen time and sedentary behaviour – also linked to the use of remote and online learning.

One thing that we do not know currently is what lasting effects the pandemic will have on behaviour patterns once life returns to normal. Theoretically, three scenarios are possible (Figure 2.9):

  • people get back to their pre-COVID-19 physical activity level,

  • people become more physically active as they need to get back to normal or, even, they are willing to get engaged in as much activity as possible, or,

  • people become less physically active as they have incorporated a less active standard in their daily routine.

In the Eurobarometer study, only 7% of respondents report plans to be more physically active after the COVID-19 pandemic ends (European Commission, 2022). Urgent actions are needed to counteract this problem and to ensure that the low levels of physical activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions do not become the new normal.


Figure 9. Theoretical patterns of change in physical activity level due to the COVID-19 pandemic


bottom of page