To promote physical activity at the beach, five national and two international sports organisations have developed educational and easy-to-use materials with sport and event examples for spending physically active time at the beach.

A Physical Activity Guide on Beach Sports and Activities has been developed with descriptions and video guides for various sports and activities on the beach and in the water. Additionally, a Manual for Organisation of BeActive Beach Games events for organising accessible and socially inclusive beach sports games has been developed and accompanied by a Policy Note on the BeActive Beach Games, which is a policy document compiled to support a physically active type of life. The materials are available to everyone on the project’s website and are suitable for use, individually, whilst relaxing on the beach with others and for different sports organisations, creating an environment and opportunities for recreational physical activities on any natural or artificially formed beach.

“It should be noted that the unexpected pandemic of the virus in the world has significantly changed the possibilities of doing sports. However, during this period, physical activity – especially in outdoor conditions – is possible and even required in small groups or with family members. The materials developed offer suitable ideas of how on different beaches and in water, without major financial resources, taking into account the security measures, it is possible to create an environment and habits that help to maintain a physically active lifestyle in these new conditions,” stresses the president of the Latvian Sports Federation Council (LSFC) Einars Fogelis.

The European Union’s Erasmus+ project, which started in early 2019 and will be finished this summer in June, was developed by Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Spanish and Portuguese, as well as two international sports organisations. The aim was to create new ways of attracting people to take up a physically active lifestyle, regardless of age, health opportunities and fitness or skills, by increasing overall participation in sport, and promoting the involvement of every day less visible or active, socially vulnerable groups of society. In total, the three materials created reflect the experience and knowledge of the countries and the international sports organisations involved in the project as well as the experience of the first BeActive Beach Games in the artificially formed beaches of Kipsala and Lucavsala in Latvia and the natural beach of Portimao in Portugal. The materials pay special attention to the inclusive aspects of different groups of society.

Easy-to-use guidelines for organising the BeActive Beach Games
Manual for Organisation of BeActive Beach Games events is designed as an easy-to-use practical guideline for potential beach sports game and event organisers from a very small or local level to national or international level. Guidelines are suitable for adapting games or events to any natural or artificially formed beaches. The recommendations are complemented by examples of BeActive Beach Games in Latvia and Portugal in 2019 and a detailed description of the five stages of organising the Beach Games: (1) planning, (2) coordinating, (3) disseminating, (4) implementing and (5) monitoring. The manual covers all aspects of hosting successful games: organisational aspects and technical requirements, financial, security and communication aspects that sets out recommendations for the necessary infrastructure and equipment for the involvement of different groups of participants. The manual provides a wide-ranging insight into the diversity of sports games: examples of sports and physical activities on the beach and in the water, demonstrations, try-out sessions and masterclasses.

The development of the BeActive Beach Games model focuses particularly on the possibilities of involving family members from multiple generations, including an example of the experience of hosting a BeActive Family Cup competition. Examples of the involvement of various social groups, including examples of wheelchair tennis, beach sitting volleyball and integrating 30 children from orphanages in the activities that were implemented in Latvia last year in cooperation with the Latvian Floorball Union.

The BeActive Beach Games model is designed to be accessible to everyone so that the rules can be changed or re-established, according to the skills and capabilities of the players, taking into account the environment: the beach, whether natural or artificial, in which the Beach Games will be organised.

Practical ideas for doing sports on the beach and in the water
The Physical Activity Guide on Beach Sports and Activities includes descriptions and video guides for a wide variety of sports and activities at the beach, including beach volleyball, beach tennis, beach football, sup boarding, surfing and other sports. The materials have been designed to be used for everyone on holidays individually or with friends or family, in any natural or artificially formed beach or in the water. For each type of sport or activity, a brief description of it has been provided with details about the required equipment, rules, conditions of the place, organisational model and the contact details for further professional guidance.

Holidays at the beach during summer months in Europe and Latvia or Portimao is not only a popular way of spending time at the beach, but there are very different physical activity opportunities, which are exciting and relevant to each other’s interests and skills. Moreover, doing sports or physical activity in the sand reduces the risk of self-induced injuries.

A policy document to support a physically active way of life in Europe
Policy Note on the BeActive Beach Games is developed for policy- and decision-makers at different organisational levels: municipalities, national and European level and provides an insight into the challenges facing most European countries and the reasons for the increasing European support for promoting a physically active way of life. The policy document highlights and clarifies the importance of sports and physical activity, not only in promoting public health but also as an opportunity to strengthen certain social and ethical values in society.

Obesity levels have doubled in recent decades and it is one of the most common health problems. The International Sports and Culture Association (ISCA) and the Centre for Economic and Business Studies (CEBR) conclude that losses related to lack of physical activity and movement in Europe approximately amount to €80 billion per year.

The document provides a more comprehensive explanation of the benefits of sports events involving society: these are traditionally health benefits, but also beneficial for the urban environment, by creating new ways for people to use existing infrastructure. The social benefits of promoting physical activity by bringing together groups of different ages, interests, opportunities, have also been highlighted. Being physically active together with people of different ages with different skills for fun and not competition teaches tolerance, solidarity, cooperation and cohesion.

About the project
To develop an accessible and inclusive model of the BeActive Beach Games, with the possibility of organising them on natural or artificially formed beaches, the European Union Erasmus + project has joined five countries – Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain and Portugal – as well as two international sports organisations. The project developed organisational, methodical and educational materials which summarise the experience of the first BeActive Beach Games in August 2019 in Latvia and September in Portugal, as support materials for sports events organisers and other stakeholders. The projects aims to seek new ways of attracting people, regardless of age, health opportunities, physical fitness or skills, to physically active lifestyle, and to create a sports movement that would be inclusive, to increase overall participation in sport, and also to encourage the involvement of everyday less visible or active, socially vulnerable groups of society.

The project’s current information can be found in the social media accounts of the project partners following the hashtag #BeActiveAtBeach

Latvian Sports Federations Council, project coordinator

Estonian Beach Sport Federation

Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations
(Lietuvos sporto federacijų sąjunga or LSFS)

Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth
(Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude or IPDJ)

Union of Sports Federations in Catalonia
(Unió de Federacions Esportives de Catalunya or UFEC)

The International Sport for All Association (TAFISA)

International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA)

For additional information:
Latvian Sports Federations Council
phone number +371 67288924