A Global Boost for Health & Happiness

Sep 29, 2023

Insights from Mark Kelly & Gerry McElligott Co-Founders of The Kick Company (TKCO)

In the bustling heart of Ireland, the World Trade Center Dublin (WTC Dublin) stands as a symbol of global interconnectedness and progress. The Kick Company (TKCO), led by its Co-Founders Mark Kelly and Gerry McElligott (TKCO), has emerged as a beacon of hope and innovation within the WTC Dublin's vibrant community of members. In today's fast-paced world, where the demands of modern life can sometimes overshadow the importance of health, wellness, and happiness, The Kick Company has embarked on a mission that transcends borders and generations. 

Insights from the Co-Founders on the critical role of outdoor activities and sports in fostering a healthy lifestyle and enhancing family happiness are timely and poignant. As the world grapples with an ever-increasing health crisis, TKCO's vision is making a significant contribution toward safeguarding the well-being of current and future generations. Within this context of global health challenges, we embark on a journey to explore the positive impact of outdoor activities and sports on individuals and societies worldwide. We draw inspiration from the visionary contributions of Mark Kelly and Gerry McElligott in promoting a healthier, happier world for all. 

TKCO: “In today's world, the youth are grappling with a rising prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and an overreliance on structured and organized activities. This dependency on structured activities often hinders their personal development. The constant evaluation and scrutiny they face from coaches, teachers, and parents within the framework of these structured activities can be limiting, preventing them from fully exploring their potential and individuality.

What's more, the intrinsic relationships with physical activity, which should be a natural part of growing up, are eroding rapidly. This erosion can be attributed to the absence of a cultural and innate love for being deeply engrossed in a sport they are passionate about. Embracing the great outdoors and engaging in unstructured, spontaneous activities can play a vital role in rekindling this innate connection with physical well-being, contributing significantly to the health and wellness of our youth.”

The Global Health Crisis

The global health crisis is on the rise, with escalating rates of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as a major risk factor for global mortality, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue. National sports policies aligned with WHO and Sustainable Development Goals 2030 recognize the need to increase sports participation levels significantly.

TKCO: “In alignment with the global health agenda outlined by organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, national sports policies are increasingly acknowledging the necessity of boosting sports participation levels. The goal is to increase these levels by a significant margin, ranging from 10% to 35%. This strategic move recognizes the profound impact of physical activity on our overall well-being and is part of a broader initiative to improve public health worldwide.

A pivotal study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2019 delved into the ramifications of an integrated "physical activity package" aimed at curbing obesity. The findings were eye-opening, projecting that such an approach could yield savings of an astonishing US$17 billion by the year 2050 across 36 nations. This underlines the immense potential of prioritizing physical activity in mitigating health-related challenges, especially the global obesity epidemic.

While it's undeniable that human lifespan is on the rise, the concept of "health span" demands our vigilant attention. Ensuring a lengthy life is just one aspect; it's equally important to maintain a robust health span. Being active is the cornerstone of this effort, as it bolsters our capacity to recover from negative health events. By engaging in regular physical activity, we equip ourselves to emerge stronger and more resilient, allowing us to continue leading independent and healthy lives. This, in turn, has far-reaching implications for global health and wellness, transcending the individual to benefit all of society.”

The Global Impact of Exercise

The benefits of outdoor activities and sports extend far beyond physical health. Maintaining a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular health, and boosting the immune system are just a few of the advantages. 

A study from The Lancet highlights the link between physical inactivity and premature deaths, emphasizing the life-saving potential of exercise.

Mental health is also profoundly affected by physical activity. Engaging in sports and outdoor activities reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, enhances mood, and boosts cognitive function. The Global Burden of Disease Study underscores the impact of exercise on mental health conditions, emphasizing the need to prioritize physical activity.

Additionally, outdoor activities and sports have a remarkable impact on family well-being, strengthening bonds, and increasing happiness and satisfaction. Notably, physical inactivity comes at a significant economic cost, as evidenced by The Lancet's report on the global economic consequences of inactivity.

TKCO: “In Ireland, nearly 50,000 children embark on their sporting journeys each year. However, it's disheartening to note that by the tender age of 12, less than 20% of these youngsters engage in the recommended Moderate Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA). This alarming trend isn't confined to Ireland alone; it's a global predicament.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019, over 80% of adolescents attending school worldwide fail to meet the recommended daily quota of at least one hour of physical activity. The stark reality becomes evident in rural communities like those engaged in Gaelic Games, where a high percentage of children struggle to run, display poor coordination, and lack the core strength to simply play ball.

The consequences of this deficiency in daily physical activity are palpable, especially in the western world where obesity has reached near-epidemic proportions. Reports indicate that in 2010, more than 35% of individuals in the United States were categorized as obese. Similarly, the United Kingdom and Ireland reported obesity rates of approximately 25%. This marks a substantial increase from 1993 when just 13% of men and 16% of women were classified as obese.

Recognizing that a child's initial experiences in sports significantly impact their future participation, it becomes clear that fostering a positive early experience is paramount. Conversely, a negative experience can lead children to abandon sports and physical activities altogether, potentially filling the void with excessive screen time and sedentary recreational pastimes.”