The Italian Wellness: sport, health and wellness at the center of the Innovation Talk of the Italian Pavilion

Wellness, promotion of sports activities also through digitalization and the importance of a greener and more sustainable healthy lifestyle were the themes of the third Innovation Talk of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Padiglione Italia Expo 2020 Dubai

The Italian Wellness protagonist at Expo 2020 Dubai.

There are many scientific studies that confirm the beneficial effects of the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and health. A healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet and regular sporting activity are the main prevention actions of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, tumors, respiratory diseases, diabetes. A model of health and well-being that must be adopted from childhood. Italy, which has always been considered a "cradle of well-being" between history, traditions (Mediterranean diet) and initiatives aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, brought its own model of sport for wellness and health to Expo 2020 Dubai. 

The Italian Wellness: re-considering life habitats of global population

On the occasion of the Italian participation in the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge 2021, from 29 October to 27 November, the spotlight is on sport which is not just a leisure activity, but a real “way of life” that affects social and working relationships.

Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, has promoted, in collaboration with ICE Dubai, another one Innovation Talk this time with experts from the health, sport and wellness sectors, entitled "The Italian Wellness: re-considering life habitats of global population" confirming itself once again as a place of comparison at Expo 2020 Dubai, on best practices and innovative projects for the future. 

Wellness, promotion of sports activities also through digitalization and the importance of a greener and more sustainable healthy lifestyle were the themes of the third Innovation Talk of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The event, moderated by the presenter of Dubai TV, Graziella Kamel, was attended by among others: Dr. Francesco Vaia, Health Director of theNational Institute for Infectious Diseases "Lazzaro Spallanzani" of RomeAlessia Mariotti, professor of the Department of Sciences for the Quality of Life of the University of Bologna and member of UNESCO UNITWIN, Vito Cozzoli, CEO of Sport and Health SpA. And Anna Ferrino, president of Assosport (National Association of Sporting Goods Manufacturers).

The Covid-19 health emergency and the lockdown have had a strong impact on people's physical and mental health, impacted on choices leading to a change in daily habits and launched challenges for the development of a new business model. of the sports industry. Hence the need to restart by promoting well-being at 360 degrees to guarantee growing health needs and a better quality of life. From the progress of science in dealing with the health emergency, to the promotion of sports activities also through digitalization and wellness tourism for the return to a greener and more sustainable normality, the event was discussed during the event. 

Look beyond, get back to normal and come out better. This is the theme of Dr. Francesco Vaia, Health Director of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases "Lazzaro Spallanzani" in Rome, who, in defining what are the possible strategies to be implemented, all groups of "operators of science, culture, civil society and the State" to return to normality, underlined the tools that the scientific community has put in place to deal with the health emergency: vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

Besides science, what do we need to get back to normal?

“Of a systemic response that the country needs - he said Go to - and for this reason we have launched a campaign called "Spallanzani open doors", so that everyone is given the opportunity for advice, a therapeutic proposal or a preventive visit. People need a reference point to be supported, in this way we try to make a concrete contribution to the 'exit strategy'. In a context of recovery, the resumption of sport, of indoor and outdoor gym activities, is never more important than in this moment. Sport is life. But to do this, attention must be kept high and proceed gradually, always taking into account the epidemiological curve and continue with the vaccination campaign. " 

Sport between digitization and sustainability: the challenges for the future

Sport is health, but it is also the best possible investment: green, sustainable, universal.

He talked about the challenges of sport for the future Vito Cozzoli, CEO of Sport and Health, the state society for the promotion of grassroots sport and correct lifestyles and implements development and sustainability policies by providing services under the indications of the government authority. "Sport is part of our lifestyle and we all appreciate its values - he said - but its concept has changed". 

In the age of digitalization, even sport in everyday life is increasingly managed by tech-digital tools. There are many Italian sports start-ups but they are unable to be strong enough to create a system. "There is a need to create a system, making the industrial soul of Sport and Health available, we have a duty to intercept the sport Industry in our country - he explained Cozzoli - hence the idea of an innovative start-up accelerator at the Foro Italico. This accelerator wants to be a challenge that is open to universities, businesses, investors, mentors ”. The action plan of Sport e Salute SpA has a social and an industrial soul "we believe that the industrial vocation is essential for the development of a stronger sports model capable of developing energy, economic resources, able to guarantee attention to growing needs for health, well-being and relationships with people ".

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on the psycho-physical health of people but also on the sports industry with a reinterpretation of its business model.

According to Anna Ferrino, president of Assosport, A non-profit trade association, which represents and promotes more than 1000 Italian companies operating in the sports sector both nationally and internationally, “The sports industry is adapting to new and less impacting business models. Interpreting the difficult challenges launched by the pandemic as an opportunity for growth, a push to accelerate the path of modernization and digitization, research and innovation ". Ferrino stressed that the Italian sports industry represents the 23% of exports to Europe and the challenge for the future is to increase them. But not only. “The experience of Covid-19 with the restrictions of outdoor sports activities - added the president of Assosport - has led in Italy to a growing development of virtual communities that not only carry out physical and sporting activities but also real competitions. This virtual sports community represents an important challenge for the future ”. In this context, "several Italian companies - he concluded - are following the path of sustainability". The Green is the new Black: the main challenge is to combine the new business model with social and environmental sustainability.

Wellness tourism and sustainable development

During the pandemic, it was understood how important it is to dedicate time to yourself, do physical activity and travel to consolidate that satisfying perception of feeling good, of well-being. Well-being is a state that involves all aspects of the human being and characterizes the quality of life. The search for wellbeing has led to the birth and development of a specific commercial and tourism sector: wellbeing tourism (the stay in structures and locations connected to relaxing environments in which to find a high level of quality of life, ed). In recent years, the green and sustainable phenomenon is also becoming popular among travelers with an increase in demand for stays in contact with nature and in full respect of the environment to achieve psycho-physical well-being.

On how il wellness tourism can contribute to territorial sustainable development, he talked about it Alessia Mariotti, professor of the Department of Sciences for the Quality of Life of the University of Bologna and member of UNESCO UNITWIN. "The various aspects of wellness tourism, such as healthy nutrition, sports, mental education, have elements in common with sustainability". To achieve the maximum result in terms of territorial sustainable development, the relationship between the four parties involved (application of the quadruple helix) is fundamental: Academy, Civil Society, Industry and Government. How? "The Academy with studies and research - he explained - also has the task of educating civil society about wellness, Industry has an influencer role on wellness lovers and the Government's actions are necessary to create suitable infrastructures to carry out activities".

At the end of the event, the testimony of Nico de Corato, ultra marathon runner residing in Dubai for years who in 2018, on the occasion of the 47th National Day of the United Arab Emirates, faced a 140km solo marathon in the desert to pay homage to the country that welcomed him.

“I play sport not as a professional and not as a final goal. For me, sport is an opportunity to strengthen the connection between Italy and the United Arab Emirates ”. De Corato stressed the importance of well-being in general and how sport has always played an important role in his life. Sport is a way to “challenge myself. In preparation, training is at 360 degrees, 24 hours a day, not only to improve performance with physical training, but also respecting proper nutrition and psychophysical well-being, integral parts of the success of the company ".

The next challenges “are not extreme - he specified de Corato - there are two: on 11 November with 50,000 steps in one day I will arrive at the Italy Pavilion and on the occasion of the UAE National Day, I will take a bicycle tour both on road and off-road covering all the emirates starting from Abu Dhabi to get to Dubai ".