Our special program to integrate more exercise into daily university life
“Move more, Feel better” is the practical part of the project Active Campus Europe (ACE).
Sixteen universities and university sports institutions from seven different European countries participate in this project, which is subsidized by the EU as part of Erasmus+.
ACE is an international project of University Sports with the aim of promoting day-to-day exercise as well as increasing well-being and quality of life with university daily life. , It is particularly aimed at those for whom sport and exercise have not been a priority before.
For this reason, the program “Move, more, feel better” in the first round addresses students, whose day-to-day physical movement in the last 30 days has not regularly included even moderate exercise like walks, bike rides or gentle jogging.
Target Group and Requirements
The program exclusively addresses students of all the participating universities, who would like to integrate more activity into their life. A long-term goal is to implement the positive experiences and benefits of their well-being into their daily routine even after the project end.
All the ACE partners are developing diverse intervention programs for the target group. The programs are based on common pillars for all partners, but integrate local specialities and needs. From October 2017 on the first round of the interventions are being conducted at the ACE universities.
Lateron you will be able to find the results of the special program “Move more, feel better”.
Executive Summary of the Evaluation (Conducted by TCD)
The following report provides analysis and evaluation of the Active Campus Europe (ACE) initiative Move More Feel Better. The programme consisted an intervention which involved an eight-week exercise programme, and an evaluation question to be completed both before the programme and after. The evaluation questionnaire included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short-Form to measure self-reported activity levels, in addition to the PROMIS Questionnaire which measured general physical and mental health. The intervention was conducted twice at different time-points referred to as Common Intervention I (CI I) and Common Intervention II (CI II).
Universities across Europe who are involved in ACE took part in the programme. Meetings between the ACE partners were organised throughout the programme to assess the programme and implement improvements. Between CI I and CI II, an app was developed to allow participants of the programme record their activity minutes rather than using a manual excel spreadsheet.
The analysis presents descriptive results of the evaluation questionnaires and exercise programme. Analysis is separated by intervention.
Results showed a positive uptake of the programme, with over 200 students taking part in the programme at each CI. Consistent activity was undertaken throughout the programme although a small drop in average activity was seen from Week 6 onwards. Improvements in overall wellbeing was seen between the pre-evaluation and post-evaluation questionnaires, suggesting a positive effect on physical and mental health from participation in the programme.
Limitations of the programme were present. Uptake of the programme varied between universities. Recruitment was difficult in some areas where students would normally walk or cycle to college, meaning the majority of students did not meet the criteria to be involved in the programme. Attrition was present in the study with some participants not completing the post-evaluation questionnaire. As a result, evaluation of the impact of the programme was not possible. A follow up assessment of the group which did not complete the post-evaluation would be worthwhile and allow for some assessment of whether the programme was not suitable for certain participants. As a result of the attrition, it is not clear whether these students were those who saw no impact from the programme and withdrew as a result.
The study had a number of strengths. Despite response rates varying throughout universities, the overall sample was large enough to produce worthwhile analysis and evaluation of the programme. Communication between partners was strong and led to the implementation of an app. The app allowed for improved data entry in CI II.
The greatest strength of the study was found in the post-evaluation, with students who completed the programme showing an improvement in their overall physical and mental health in both CI I and CI II. Physical and Mental health are a growing concern worldwide. The Move More Feel Better programme has shown there to be a positive impact in an eight-week programme. It would be advisable to consider continuing the programme in these universities and potentially expanding further. In addition, another follow-up programme with all participants to assess the impact on their own routines further down the line may prove worthwhile in establishing what longer term effects the intervention has had on individuals.