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:
- National recommendations for reducing sitting (in Finnish)
- Joy, play and doing together – Recommendations for physical activity in early childhood (in Finnish)
- Scientific justifications for the recommendations for physical activity in early childhood (in Finnish)
- Recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years (Ministry of Education and Culture)
- Health promotion material in English (UKK Institute)
- Current Care Guidelines for physical activity and exercise training (Duodecim)
- Physical activity recommendations (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) (in Finnish)
- Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health (WHO)
- Recommendations for physical activity promotion at work - Liikkuva työelämä
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
- Families on the Move (in Finnish)
- Early Childhood Education and Care on the Move (in Finnish and Swedish)
- Finnish Schools on the Move
- Studies on the Move (in Finnish and Swedish)
- Adults on the Move
- Older people on the move
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.
- Strategy for Leisure Activities (in Finnish)
- Promoting children’s and young people’s opportunities for leisure activities (in Finnish)
- Harrastuspassi (in Finnish)
- The Finnish model for leisure activities (in Finnish)
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
- Sport Services in the Light of Statistics (in Finnish)
- Report on Basic Public Services 2020 (in Finnish)
- National recommendations for physical activity counseling
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
National programmes promoting physical activity
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.
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: