Promotion of physical activity

Uimari. Kuva: Juha Tuomi/RodeoThe Ministry of Education and Culture endeavours to create conditions for a physically active lifestyle for the whole population. The aim is to enable the Finnish population to be physically active to a degree that safeguards their health and wellbeing.


The objectives for promoting a physically active lifestyle are laid down in the Sports Act. The aim is to enhance conditions for different demographic groups to engage in physical activity, to boost people’s health and wellbeing, to improve and maintain people’s physical functional capacities, and to support children and young people to grow and develop.

To do so, we apply the principles of gender equality, non-discrimination, social inclusion, multiculturalism, healthy lifestyles, respect for the environment and sustainable development.

National recommendations on physical activity

To increase physical activity and physical exercise, national recommendations have been issued for different age groups, demographic groups and to professionals in the sports and health sectors.

The recommendations are used to communicate how much and how often physical activity is recommended, how effective it is and the quality of physical activity. The recommendations are also used to monitor the population’s health and physical activity behaviour and whether the measures to promote physical activity are successful.

Recommendations for physical activity:

On the Move programmes

The national promotion programmes for physical activity and physical exercise, i.e. on the move programmes, promote a physically active lifestyle for different age groups and demographic groups.  The programmes are financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

On the Move programmes includes


Engaging in physical activity and physical exercise

Physical activity is one of the most popular leisure activities. Central government promotes leisure activities by means of guidelines, measures and funding. Local authorities, the voluntary sector and businesses all play a key role as providers of leisure activities.

The Ministry of Education and Culture aims to increase the opportunities for leisure activities for children and young people and low-threshold physical activities locally. We must make it possible for all children and young people to engage in leisure activities. The priorities in the Strategy for Leisure Activities are to make more leisure activities available to children during school hours and to reach those children and young people who cannot take part in their favourite leisure activities.

Leisure activities

Promotion of physical activity in municipalities

Physical activity is a basic service provided by municipalities. Municipalities create opportunities for their residents to engage in physical activity and exercise by organising these services and by offering the activities for different target groups to enhance health and wellbeing, and by supporting the activities of sports clubs and other non-governmental organisations as well as by building and maintaining sports facilities.

Every two years, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) collects data on how sports and physical activity have been promoted and developed in the municipalities. The results are reported in the TEAviisari benchmarking data system.

Sports and physical activity in municipalities

European cooperation in promoting a physically active lifestyle

The WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), together with the European Union, prepares a comparative analysis every three years on how the Council of the European Union recommendations on physical activity are implemented in the Member States of the European Union (EU Physical Activity Country Factsheets).

Information is collected on the physical activity of the population and on policy measures aimed at health-enhancing physical activity, on the cross-administrative nature of promoting physical activity, on existing physical activity recommendations for different age groups and on how they are implemented, as well as on measures and the volume of physical activity in schools and workplaces. Thematic reports are also produced.

The Ministry of Education and Culture represents Finland in the focal points network of the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The role of the network is to coordinate data collection at national level and to support the EU and WHO/Europe in preparing, implementing and reporting data collection and in implementing measures to promote physical activity in Europe.

Links to other websites

On the move National strategy for physical activity promoting health and wellbeing 2020

National programmes promoting physical activity

Schools on the Move programme

Adults on the Move

Strength in Old Age programme

Information on the promotion of physical activity in municipalities

TEAviisari is an online service that showes the direction of health promotion capacity- building in municipalities.



Contact information

Päivi Aalto-Nevalainen, kulttuuriasiainneuvos 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Nuoriso- ja liikuntapolitiikan osasto (NUOLI), Division for Sport Telephone:0295330054   Email Address:

Sari Virta, Senior Officer 
Ministry of Education and Culture, Nuoriso- ja liikuntapolitiikan osasto (NUOLI), Division for Sport Telephone:0295330377   Email Address: