Under school age children

3 h

Recommendation for early childhood years: three hours of physical activity a day.

The objective of the national Joy in Motion activities is to guarantee all children daily opportunities for being physically active and benefitting from the joy of exercise.

The foundation of an active lifestyle is built in childhood: we start establishing our characteristic ways of living and behavioural patterns as early as at three years of age.

Children are socialised to modes of being active at home, in early childhood education and care and their local environment. Motor skills developed before school age are the basis of later physical activity.


School-age children

1-2 h

Recommendation for young people aged 7 to 18: at minimum 1 to 2 hours of physical activity a day.

The national Schools on the Move is part of a Government key project. Over 90 % of Finnish comprehensive schools are now Schools on the Move.

Schools on the Move around Finland are currently seeking ways of reducing sedentary time and adding physical activity to the school day. The aim is at a more active and pleasant school day.

Schools on the Move think outside the box: the pupils spend less time sitting, learn by doing, are physically active during recess and walk or cycle to school. Physical activity has a positive impact on learning and school satisfaction and promotes a peaceful work environment.


Working age people

10 %

of Finnish adults meet the recommendation for health-enhancing physical activity.

The Fit for Life program seeks to improve the health and welfare of people in working age and those recently retired through incidental exercise during daily activities, participation in physical activity, healthy eating and environments that promote incidental activity.

Almost two out of three adults living in Finland take too little exercise in terms of their health. Calculations show that the sedentary behaviours of Finnish adults cost hundreds of millions of euros every year.

Recent studies indicate that only slightly over ten per cent of working age people and only a few per cent of people in retirement age follow the recommendation for health-enhancing physical activity. Taking part in physical activity and being more active in your daily life help you cope better at work, in your free time and after retirement. Regular physical activity brings a number of different health benefits.


Older people

Only a few per cent of those in retirement age comply with the recommendation for physical activity. In particular, older people should do more strength and balance training.

The Strength in Old Age and Health and Wellbeing from Physical Activity programmes promote older people’s equal opportunities for physical activity as well as their independent coping and quality of life.

The Finnish population is ageing at the fourth fastest rate in Europe: in 2040, more than one in four Finnish people will be aged over 65. A physically active daily life is an effective and low-cost way of supporting older people’s functional capacity and independent living at home.

While older Finnish people take many types of exercise, only a few per cent of those in retirement age comply with the recommendations for physical activity. In particular, they do little strength and balance training. It is never too late to get moving. Exercise is an effective way of improving functional capacity, especially for those with a low fitness level. Physical activity also improves mental welfare and memory while offering opportunities for meeting people.

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