Young people’s sports activities decreased since the COVID-19 pandemic


The pandemic has led to a decreasing sport activity of young people in Germany. This is the result of a representative survey1 conducted by appinio on behalf of Allianz. In the present study Allianz compares the physical activity of a representative sample of 1,000 5-24-year-olds before, during and after the most recent COVID-19 lockdowns in Germany. Due to regulations of the government such as the closing of sport clubs and fitness centres, children and adolescents were deprived of following their regular sporting activities. Consequently, 66 percent of children2 between the ages of 5 and 15 as well as 51 percent of young people from the age of 16 to 24 in Germany were less active in sports.

Today, two and a half years after the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, the young generation still struggles to find their way back into an active routine. While 56 percent of children are back to doing sports as frequently as before the pandemic, 39 percent have lost their motivation and find it difficult to get active again. The surveyed young people are even more affected: More than one in two (54 percent) adolescents are still fighting to follow a regular sport routine, only 37 percent are just as active again.

Insurance company Allianz is tapping into this issue by launching the MoveNow program to support and strengthen young people by facilitating access and offering opportunities to become and stay active. The mission is to prepare the next generation* for the future by moving their body, mind and soul. It is proven that regular activity has a high impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of children and young adults. Children between the age of 5 and 15 are happier, more balanced and active if they regularly participate in sports. The young people surveyed feel that sport makes them more active and physically fit (29 percent), healthy (27 percent), more balanced (25 percent) and happier (24 percent). Only six percent stated that sports do not offer them any added value. 

A lower activity leads to decreasing positive attitudes. As a result, 41 percent of children in Germany were especially unbalanced and bored during the pandemic, which has a negative impact on the physical and social development. 36 percent lacked contact with teammates, another 15 percent even became depressed. Also, one in five of the young adults stated that they felt depressed.

As Official Worldwide Insurance Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, Allianz has teamed up with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to strengthen the role of sport in society to create a healthier environment for young people. Together with the IOC, Allianz is working on a thought leadership piece to enhance the understanding of why it is important to enable the next generation to move their body, mind and soul as well as how to find a sustainable approach. With the MoveNow program, Allianz commits to move people of the next generation across the globe through 24 initiatives in the upcoming months until the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. The program picks up on many sport activations and festivals Allianz has conducted over the last years and includes initiatives like youth camps, sports activities and digital events such as a fitness series with the IPC launching later this year. 

As a kick-off for the Road to Paris, the MoveNow program will begin on July 26th – two years before the Olympic Games Paris 2024. It will be spearheaded by a social participation initiative which is led by influencers, both of athletes and non-athlete’s backgrounds, who will engage their communities in sports challenges of all sorts. 

Especially sport events and competitions are a great way to get young people moving again. According to the survey results, 49 percent of the young people and 42 percent of the children surveyed like the challenge of achieving one's personal best most about sports. The answers to what would make young people exercise regularly again are a friend for mutual motivation (39 percent), more free sports activities (37 percent), making new social contacts (24 percent) and trying out a new sport (23 percent).

Dr. med. Sonja Beyer, company physician at Allianz says: “We at Allianz understand that it’s not a given for everyone to be confident in tomorrow, having a positive outlook about their own well-being and future perspective. Especially the next generation is hit hard by the current crises from COVID-19 to climate. In these times we must deliver on our purpose and promise. We are convinced of a positive effect of sports on body, mind and soul. Therefore, we are proud to introduce the MoveNow program to get young people moving again so that they are ready for tomorrow.”

1 The appinio study commissioned by Allianz was conducted in June 2022 among children and adolescents between the age of 5 and 24 years in a nationwide representative sample (N=1000) in Germany.

2 Children between the ages of 5 and 15 surveyed by their parents.

* Up to 32 years old.

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 746 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.8 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of March 31, 2024.

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