A new all island research body, set up to investigate why so many people in Ireland give upsport and physical as they get older, was launched in Armagh last night.
The new body will bring together researchers from the University of Ulster, University College Cork, University of Limerick, Dublin City University, Cork Institute of Technology, Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee.
Former GAA PresidentSeÃ¡n Kelly, MEP,opened the inaugural meeting of the Partnership at the Armagh City Hotel.
He said: “Initiatives such this are important if we wish to maximise our physical, human and intellectual resources for the benefit of the public.
“We need to have our brightest minds informing policy, impacting practice and preparing preventive strategies to offset the challenges of a post-modern world that has, perhaps unwittingly, engineered physical inactivity.”
Research shows that being active in sport or physicalactivity has positive effects on our health, both physical and mental.
There is also much evidence to suggest that large numbers of the Europe’s adult population have low levels of physical activity.
What is not known, however, is why some individuals remain engaged in sport andphysical activity throughout their life while others in similar personal, social and economic circumstances do not.
Professor Deirdre Brennan from the University of Ulster’s Sports Academy and Dr Fiona Chambers, University College Cork (UCC) have joined forces to convene an All Island Sport and Physical Activity Pedagogy Partnership (AI-SPAPP) to address this issue.
Professor Brennan from the University of Ulster said:“We believe that taking a collaborative approach to investigate why people are inactive will help us to reverse the trend.
“Clearly there is more than one reason and therefore there has to be more than one solution to breaking the cycle of physical inactivity. The research findings of the All Island Partnership will inform policy makers and practitioners on the ground.”
Dr Chambers, Director of Sports Studies and Physical Education at UCC,added: “We believe that if we find the most effective way of teaching sport and physicalactivity thatwe can help the general public remain active and healthy throughout their lives.
“Identifying the characteristics of such teaching methods i.e. what works in keeping people involved in sport, physical activity and exercise through the life course, is crucial.
“The outcomes of the research partnership will have a profound impact on the ways in which teachers, coaches and instructors are trained to deliver and support learning in sport and physical activity.”
National governing bodies, athletes, young people, policy makers andpractitionersare also involved in the project to helpdevise a research strategythat will help improve teaching/coaching andlearning in sport and physical activity.
A unique feature of the Partnership is the involvement of the different groups whose opinions and experience will shape thePartnership’s research agenda. This research hopes to improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching/coaching and learning in sport and physical activity so that citizens will remain physically active throughout their lives.