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The current pandemic has made abundantly clear that when we are forced to reduce life to the essentials, physical activity becomes more important than ever. Even before COVID-19 frustrated our daily routines, the concept of physical activity for health already had begun to enjoy a surge in popularity.
When the WHO released its 2020 Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour this past November,1 2 the message was simple—every move counts. That is, moving for even a few minutes a day is better than nothing and has proven health benefits. At the other end of the exercise spectrum, there is an increasing interest in how regular intense exercise, similar to that undertaken by elite sportspersons, may benefit health and longevity.3
Is there a role for elite sport to inform public health interventions? Influential international organizations think so, including the WHO, who renewed their partnership with a new work plan under a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last May.4 As IOC President Thomas Bach reminded us, ‘sport can save lives’ and is about more than competition.
While Bach’s words may resonate with our readership, they also challenge the established notion that sport—elite sport in particular—is somehow set apart …
Twitter @janesthornton, @jonpatricios, @JoanneLKemp, @larsengebretsen, @DreznerJon
Contributors JST and JD developed the editorial idea. JST composed the initial draft. All authors contributed to further content development, writing and final approval of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests JD is Editor-In-Chief, and JST, JD, JP and LE are Editors for BJSM. LE is Head of Medical Sciences at the IOC.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.