Recognising the critical importance of sport and exercise for physical and mental health, in fostering community cohesion and inclusion, and also in contributing to social and economic development, the Commonwealth has long been working with governments to boost this sector.

Building on its previous advances in this area, the Secretariat has created the Commonwealth Moves initiative to help sustain and re-boot this sector in the COVID-19 new reality.


Impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity

One of the sad consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is the decline in sport and physical activity. The impact on health and wellbeing, jobs and the community spirit supported by the sport and physical activity sector, is dire.   

The pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted an existing problem – a global population that was spending way too much time sitting and not enough time moving. This silent ‘pandemic’ of immobility has had devastating effects on our health, contributing to a rapid rise in Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In 2018, the World Health Organisation reported that NCDs were killing 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. Inactivity is estimated to cost the global economy INT$68 billion in direct health care and lost productivity.

Research and resources

Commonwealth Moves is supported by pillars of research and includes a package of resources which were cleverly designed to respond to the current COVID-19 reality and create a sector and populations which are resilient enough to deal with future pandemics.

It aims to support countries in creating and modifying policies and modes of delivery in sport and activity programmes, that comply with guidance on social distancing, hygiene and safety protocols. Each of our collaborators has developed on-line, COVID-19-adapted resources, backed by robust analysis and research.