NEWS

INTERNATIONAL MEETING UNDER THE HEPA S PROJECT WAS HELD IN PORTUGAL
14.07.2022
In the period 12-14 July, 2022, in Mirandela, Portugal, an international meeting under the HEPA (Health Enhancing Physical Activity) project was held. The project aims to encourage participation in sports and physical activity of seniors (persons age 65+) by developing new recreational sport programmes suited for 3 types of most common health conditions back pain, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. The meeting brought together representatives of 6 partner organizations from five European countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, Slovenia and Serbia. The sports specialists Ivelina Kirilova, PhD and Joanna Dochevska took part in the meeting on behalf of the Bulgarian sports development association.

In April 2022, within the initiative, in the town of Berkovitsa, a free four-month program for physical activity for adults was launched, coordinated by the local partners of the project Health in the northwest association. The pilot sports program is coordinated by the Health in the northwest association at local level, and its benefits are going to be analysed after its completion. During the launch of the program, the exercises were presented by Ivelina Dimitrova a kinesiotherapist and specialist in adapted physical activity and sports, who is the creator of the author's correctional methodology Class4YourBack. The four-month pilot program is going to be implemented by proven sports specialists from the town Tatiana Elenkova and Plamena Chuburova.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE HEPA PROJECT ARE:
Providing the prerequisites for the development of new educational modules and recommendations setting up the expert group for the preparation of the educational modules and developing recommendations;
Analysis of current HEPA guidelines in the project partner countries;
Analysis of good practices related to sport and physical activity for people aged 65+;
Analysis of the needs of individuals in the field of grassroots sport as coaches, fitness professionals (kinesiotherapists, trainers) and general practitioners;
Creation of a "Guide and Training Modules" for working with individuals aged 65+, for coaches, fitness professionals (kinesiotherapists, trainers) and general practitioners;
Capacity building in coaches, fitness professionals (kinesiotherapists, physiotherapists, trainers) and pilot sports programmes suitable for persons aged 65+.

THE EXPECTED IMPACT OF THE HEPA PROJECT:
minimum of 50 sport for all coaches and fitness professionals (kinesiologists, trainers) (10 per project country) will be educated;
minimum 50 general practitioners will be educated;
5 round tables organized with decision makers and relevant stakeholders;
at least 10 educated sport for all coaches and fitness professionals (kinesiologists, trainers) per project country will participate in the practical part of education, implementation of Sport pilot program for seniors;
organized Sport pilot programme for seniors in duration for 4 months for 30 seniors (older people 65+) per project country.

THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF HEPA PROJECT ARE:
Raising awareness regarding benefits of participation in recreational PA for seniors (persons age 65+) in terms of social inclusion and health-enhancing;
Analysing current HEPA guidelines in project countries and developing new Recommendations for implementing HEPA for seniors with emphasis on new developed exercises aimed at resolving back pain and on exercises adapted to persons with cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis using multisector approach;
Strengthening the capacity of kinesiologists and trainers through non-formal education on new methodology for conducting recreational sport activities for seniors in project countries;
Strengthening the capacity of general practitioners on benefits of participation of seniors in recreational sport activities;
Creating a network of main stakeholders (project partner organizations, kinesiologists and general practitioners), national and local sports committees, and units of local (self) government and health institutions to exchange examples of good practice regarding the inclusion of seniors in recreational sport activities.

HEPA project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.