Tag: physical activity

Global physical activity levels

Major study was published in Lancet yesterday reporting that 25% of the people worldwide do not exercise enough in terms of their health. According to its conclusions, policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently. I could not agree more, but on the other hand 75% of the world population are exercising quite nicely.

Particularly Finns exercise quite a lot as Finns lead the statistics amongst the western countries. Obesity and many chronic diseases are still quite common also in Finland, which makes me to ask whether even that amount of exercise that Finns do is enough to maintain or improve health? Or are these surveys, which are not relying on objective measures to determine physical activity, even misleading? How much should we actually exercise? Maybe 2-3 hours per day, as also suggested for kids?

Further, one could think based on these data that many persons are quite well-informed and health concsious as they are exercising. However, according to this study this might not be the case, but we need to continue to inform people in regards to health hazards of lack of exercise.

Back to basics – Orienteering is good fun!

Orienteering is one of the best exercises one can imagine. Running in a forest with a map trying to find your way according to pre-defined locations puts both your legs and brain working. No step is similar than previous one and terrain is often quite demanding. Uphills and downhills and reading map and sometimes just running fast is best natural interval training that one can figure. Good thing also is that you do not need to be running with maximal effort but you can also enjoy nature, which is good and healthy for your body also according to science. These were some of the things I figured out also today when I was orienteering. Early summer was full of rowing on a same days as our weekly orienteering events happen, but now I am back to running in the forests with a map, and how great is that ūüôā

Tahko MTB – 20 years and going even stronger

An epic Tahko mountain bike race was raced today for the 20th time in a row. My first race there was in 2002 and this has been a must race since then. It did not dissapoint this year either. Simple thing is that it is tough (60K, few minutes over 3 hours max effort), and that is the reason I have done that several times, basically always when I have been in Finland. And I am not the only one as many other exercisers have also found it and this year over 2300 cyclists were doing the race. Conditions were wet and tough, but this is why we do it.

Another reason to go and do Tahko  MTB is Kuopio/Nilsiä region. If you are interested, check out more information from Tahko webpages.

Holiday weight gain tends to make us fat for life, but no worries, exercise helps

Nobody gains weight overnight. It happens gradually over the years or decades. Average adult tends to gain 0.5-1.0 kg per year, which is quite a lot actually. But no worries if there has been some weight gain, exercise helps.

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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!

Snowsports – another good way to be more active!

Finnish attempt “snowsports make you more active” won FIS SnowKidz Award and was recognised as the best programme worldwide last year to bring children to the snow. This year the program expands even more and other countries are also becoming more and more active advancing snowsport activities.

Cross-country skiing is really good activity also for kids. Also Southern and West part of Finland got quite a bit of snow (some 15 cm) yesterday, and we also needed to go and try if we could ski for the first time for the season. We have been in skitunnel skiing with artificial snow, but good real snow in a natural environment is still different. Although real tracks were not prepared yet, skiing was indeed possible, which was good fun and hopefully we will have lots of good winter days and snow ahead of us!

 

Mental health can be strengthened

I happened to read one newsletter which was telling about the Finnish Association for Mental Health and thought to share their pretty good webpages for anyone interested. It is not that common for this type of Finnish organizations or societies to have their information in English as well, but they have and please have a look. There is lot more information and articles also about physical activity and mental health in Finnish, but hope you can find some useful information in English as well. Even I was not aware that this Finnish Association has been around for over a century, which is quite impressive that the need for this topic has been realized for so long already.

Gravitational waves, Einstein and physical activity

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics made me wonder the role of Einstein’s physical activity when he calculated the existence of gravitational waves some 100 years ago. We might not remember him best as the ambassador of exercise and physical activity, but based on biographies written about him it is evident that in addition to spending lots of time thinking and discussing with his friends, he also liked to walk around and spend time¬†up on the¬†mountains. Maybe he had realized that there really is something there with the muscle and mind connection, as shown recently by the Swedish researchers. Maybe Einstein would have made his calculations and other ideas even without being physically active, but as we currently know that physical activity can boost your memory, creativity and productivity, it is quite likely that Einstein’s walking trips also contributed to his amazing intelligence.

 

Cancer and bad luck

In my previous blog I wrote about the importance of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of cancer, but it is also worth of mentioning that according to a recent study majority (2/3) of the cancers might actually be due to random cell divisions, thus pure bad luck. You can read more about the topic and get further perspectives for instance from this article that I found balanced and informative.

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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.