According to the guidelines of the Dutch Health Council, adults should exercise moderately intense for at least 150 minutes per week. Unfortunately, many do not meet this standard, even though exercise can significantly increase mobility, quality of life and longevity. Especially for people over 50, exercise is essential, given the risk of age-related disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes and joint complaints. The goal of the Vitality Club is that peers motivate each other to jointly integrate exercise into the daily routine and as a result, live longer healthier lives. In addition to the health benefits that an hour of exercise a day yields, the participants also appreciate the social aspect.
Vitality Club is a non-profit organization, initiated by Leyden Academy. It is an example of peer coaching: people who try to achieve a goal together. An existing successful and inspiring role model is the FreeWheel Club in Ulft, the Netherlands. Researchers from Leyden Academy have monitored the progress of members of the FreeWheel Club and published the results in scientific journal Translational Behavioral Medicine in January 2018. We noticed that the physical fitness level of the participants improved over time. In June 2020, the Vitality Club was recognized by the Dutch National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM), as an effective exercise intervention. Additional research shows that a Vitality Club can be established successfully in every neighbourhood, without the support of professionals. We published our findings in December 2020 in scientific journal Preventive Medicine Reports.
Happier and healthier
Leyden Academy initially set up experimental peer coaching sports clubs for older adults in three neighbourhoods in the city of Leiden. Our goal was to empower seniors to take charge of their daily exercise and integrate this into their routine to become healthier and happier as they age. Since 2015, more and more Vitality Clubs are established in the Netherlands, and the participants experience the health benefits and pleasure of exercising together. For an overview of the current locations, please visit the Vitality Club website (in Dutch). For an impression, view this introduction video by the Vitality Club in Leiden.
For more information, please contact David van Bodegom.