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Universities seek to get their students “moving” to counter sedentary lifestyle

Despite the forty minutes by metro to come to this university sports hall at 13e arrondissement of Paris, located on the Grands Moulins campus of the Paris Cité University, Clément, 21, would not miss his two hours a week of “discharge” and of “relaxation” every Tuesday at the beginning of the afternoon. “It’s when we get back to sport that we realize how much our body needed it”, analysis, between two badminton matches, the student in the second year of a master’s degree in education.

Clément had stopped all physical activity when moving to Paris two years ago. But it’s been three months since he managed, somehow, to “cram” into his schedule this sports option offered by the University Department of Physical and Sports Activities (Suaps). He already sees the benefits ” in [son] body as in [sa] head and [ses] studies »he explains, saying he is made aware, by his training, “at the risks of a sedentary lifestyle”. In the field, where around twenty beginner athletes are sweating, Mévatia, 19, a student in L3 foreign languages, adds: “I spend a lot of time sitting to study, [et] I feel since my arrival at university the need to “move” moresays the young woman. But between studies and my job on the side, I couldn’t find, until today, neither the time nor the money to play sports…”

Clément and Mévatia were therefore still part of the 58% of students who do not practice physical activity and sport until recently. “due to a lack of time related to university constraints”, according to the survey of the National Observatory of Physical Activity and Sedentary Life (Onaps) and the National Association of Staps Students (Anestaps). Published in September 2022, it also alerted to the fact that students, like Mévatia, “an average of eight hours of sedentary behavior per day”.

“Decrease in cardiovascular capacity”

While the fight against the sedentary lifestyle of the French and the promotion of “healthy sport” are at the center of the Heritage plan for the 2024 Olympic Games, the Ministry of Higher Education launched, in October 2022, a working group to reflect to the levers to develop a physical practice of the students, in decline survey after survey. The France Universities association, which brings together all the presidents of universities, must for its part submit a report on the subject in January with its own recommendations.

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