Transforming Lives through Sport: Lithuanian Olympic Academy’s ‘Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’ Project promotes Health and Olympic Values among Youth

The Lithuanian Olympic Academy is running the project “Mens sana in Corpore Sano” to promote physical activity and Olympic values among children aged 10 to 13. The project, which started on 1 August 2023, has a duration of 12 months and will run until July 31, 2024.

The idea of the project was born from alarming study results. In 2020, only 23% of adolescents in Lithuania were sufficiently physically active (HBSC study, Inchley et al., 2020). The covid pandemic had further restricted the movement of children and exacerbated the situation. With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in Lithuania and across Europe, accounting for about a third of all deaths, the World Health Organisation repeatedly stresses the importance of physical activity for health.

The Lithuanian Olympic Academy wants to address this problem and at the same time help young people to achieve a “healthy mind in a healthy body” (Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’). As the internalisation of values is seen as a crucial prerequisite for a successful personal development, the Lithuanian project pays special attention to education. Alongside the development of physical activity, the project includes the promotion of Olympic values. It uses the JoyMVPA method, a physical activity programme based on fun and appropriate intensity. During the exercises, much emphasis is placed on inspiring and empowering children to embrace the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.

The project under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Asta Sarkauskiene is being implemented in six Lithuanian municipalities, with each participating for three months. A total of 480 children between the ages of 10 and 13 take part.

The implementation of the project in each municipality will conclude with a sports event under the motto “Mens sana in Corpore Sano” and the whole project will at the end culminate in a joint camp for all participants on the Lithuanian coast.

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