Tag: fitness

Take BBC’s 60-second test to figure out which sport are you made for?

I have recently been writing about cross-country skiing, but if it is not your sport you might want to take this BBC’s 60-second test to figure out more suitable sport for you. Check out also their related story where Santa Claus is most likely coming from, as well as their story about Finland which also shows Finns cross-country skiing.

New research confirms the superior health benefits of cross-country skiing

I have been writing lately about cross-country skiing and also previously about its great effects on fitness and health. There has also been large epidemiological studies showing its benefits.

New research from Finland also confirms this as it shows that cross-country skiing is actually superior to other sport and physical activity habits in terms of health (all-cause mortality). This is because researchers in this recent study took also into consideration other and total physical activity habits (as well as numerous other confounding factors that could have affected the results), and showed that cross-country skiing showed independent effects on mortality, thus skiers lived longer.

Like I have previously written, cross-country skiing activates basically all of our muscles stimulating cardiovascular function and metabolism substantially. It is also great “natural” interval training, even when practised at slow pace, particularly when you are skiing in mountaneous terrain. Therefore, if you have a chance, cross-country skiing is really something that could be practised to be physically active and fit!

Family Activities for Fun and Good Health

Another link that I happened to click recently was NIH’s National Institute on Aging provided article discussing family activities that could be tried to improve the health of whole family. That was good read but they have also lots of other good information that could be checked, such as general guides for endurance, strenght, balance and flexibility training that everyone should do, preferably daily. But coming back to physical activities that whole family could do, one of the most common things that we use to do is to take our boys to ride their bicycles while we are running as parents. I have actually done that ever since my oldest child was 2,5 years old when he learnt to cycle, without balance wheels. He had used a balance bike for quite long before that so actual cycling was quite easy after that. We were living in The Netherlands at that time and luckily roads were very flat and regions very safe, which made things much easier. I was also giving him a little “push” every now and then and was helping him when going uphills (those few that we faced during our normal running and cycling trips).Younger brother also learnt to cycle at quite young age and now they need to wait dad when I am running and they are with their bikes ūüôā We also cycle to pre-school and daycare and use bike every time when distances are not too long.

Cycling, walking and playing various (ball) games together is also good fun. One of the things we do once per week is parent-child floorball, which has been so great as that is not so “structured” club exercise aiming at competitions or so but just easy playing with kids. Regional club football is also good as boys can meet and interact with their mates at the same time, as well as during cross-country skiing practises where general motor and other skills will improve substantially. So there are plenty of good ways to be physically active also as a whole family and we just need to pick up the best ways that work each one of us.

Politicians as exercisers – President of Finland leads the way

President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, was recently invited by President Donald Trump to visit White house. Meeting took place couple of days ago and was widely in the news worldwide. Funny things happened during the press conference as reported for instance by the New York Times, but also very nice and informative stories were published discussing the meeting and other things.

Presidents maybe did not have time to discuss their exercise habits, so I must let you know that Niinistö is known to be very active exerciser during his leisure time. He likes particularly roller skating and being 69 years old, he shows good example for all of us that even quite demanding sports are doable no matter what is your age. Niinistö is a lawyer (graduated from the University of Turku where I am currently working) and former treasurer of Finland who during the late 1990s was an important person to fix the economical situations in Finland for the better. Many Finns love him because in contrast to some other politicians, he is very down-to-earth and modest person with facts always checked. Exercising in public on roads and not in luxurious private gyms must be part of his down-to-earth attitude, which has made him very popular national figure.

However, Niinistö is not the only Finnish politician who shows good example keeping up with fitness goals despite their demanding jobs and busy schedules. One good example is also our former finance, foreign, and prime minister Alexander Stubb, who does physically very demanding things such as triathlons. Stubb was also recently elected as a chairman of Crisis Management Initiative established in 2010 by Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari. Despite of new duties and responsibilities, I am sure that exercise continues to be an important part of his daily life. Good stuff, that is what all our leaders should be doing!

Nordic walking – great exercise!

I recently wrote about the benefits and enjoyment that roller skiing can provide, but if you are hesitating to roll along on wheels, trying nordic walking could also be an option. Skiers use nordic walking (or running with poles) a lot and that is part of the reason why they are so fit. They have done that already for several decades, but Nordic walking started to become more and more popular also among the general people in Finland and other Nordic countries some 20-30 years ago. Today and tomorrow there is therefore a seminar in Finland celebrating 20 years of Nordic walking in Finland as a part of Finland’s 100 years of independence celebrations. Nordic walking is also perfect way to get fit as it is truly whole body exercise, which is the reason why it is also very good for your health. Therefore, it is a good idea to take ski poles with you next time you are having a walk!

Roller skiing- what a perfect way to get fit!

Cross-country skiing is well known to be one of the best exercises to get fit and improve health. Cross-country skiing activates basically all of your muscles (legs, gluts, abdomen, back and arms etc.), and thus creates great metabolic and circulatory demands for whole body simultaneously, which is the reason why it increases fitness very effectively. An indication of this is that world’s best cross-country skiers are known to have the highest maximal oxygen consumption values of all human beings. Cross-country skiing requires snow, but skiing can be done also by roller skiing, which is enjoyable and perfect way to exercise particularly during summer time. An interesting thing also is that skiing not only activates your skeletal muscles, but also your brain.

Roller skiing is enjoyable exercise activity and perfect way to be outside and get fit!

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A picture of Tour de France rider shows what extreme training can do for your blood volume and vasculature

Most remarkable sport event in July, Tour de France, is over and was again won by Chris Froome. This blog is not so much focused on which rider or athlete wins or loses in some competition and I will therefore leave those things for the journalists. During the Tour an interesting and memorable picture was however taken and posted on Instagram by one of the riders, which nicely shows what endurance training is capable of doing in our body. Some said that rider should see his doctor, but his legs are not neccesarily showing any bad injuries or fatigue but are simply a result of extreme endurance training caused mainly by two main physiological factors.

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Exercise is medicine, particularly anti-aging medicine!

Based on scientific research performed over the last few decades it has become evident that exercise is pretty effective medicine in many clinical conditions. This fact is being promoted for instance by the leading Association in the field, American College of Sport Medicine.

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The views expressed on this website do not neccasarily reflect the views of University of Turku or other institutions or organisations Dr. Heinonen represents.