Umeå was this year elected to Best Athletic City in Sweden. Not that surprising since 71 % of the municipality's population are active in sports. The many sport clubs have for the last two decades been working with a gender perspective and thus fostered a number of international and national athletes.
In addition to fostering athletes, the strong sports movement in Umeå also creates leaders through there many educational programs on all levels. Young people learn about leadership, teamwork and the democratic processes through this well-established movement.
The importance of the population’s physical well-being is also a part of Umeå’s sustainable strategy. For example when planning new housing areas the importance of sport and different activities are taken into account.
"In Umeå there’s always an opportunity to exercise, indoors and outdoors, all year round. Around the city there’s a wide range of gyms, cross country-tracks, riding schools, skate parks, ski slopes, curling facilities, hockey rinks and much more. There’s also beautiful hiking trails, bike paths and opportunities for fishing and various other outdoor activities. Next to the university campus you’ll find IKSU – one of Europe’s largest training facilities. It’s one of Sweden’s most frequented buildings with more than 30 000 visitors each week."
The project, Change the game, aims to increase awareness of how important physical activity is and also give children better conditions for an active life. In 2017, the fourth year of the project, the event was held for two full days. During day one a knowledge-increasing seminar called "Pep Talks for Professionals" was held focusing on mobility/motion. The seminar was led by, amongst others, Dean Kriellaars and Nalda Wainwright, two of the world's leading experts in the field.