Project manager Minna Paajanen leading the work. Photo: Meri Virta.

Helsinki looks for ways to increase physical exercise with the elderly

Helsinki participates in a city innovation programme implemented by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University as the only European city. The theme chosen by the City of Helsinki in the programme is how to increase physical activity in the everyday lives of the elderly, because increased physical exercise is one of the City’s main goals in the current City Strategy term. 

Helsinki is aging fast, as is all of Finland. The need to increase physical exercise is particularly urgent with the elderly, as differences in the perceived quality of life, wellbeing, health and opportunities for participation become more pronounced with years. Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to maintain and to improve wellbeing, health and the ability to function, as well as to lead rewarding lives. 

Helsinki will implement a nine-month training programme under the supervision of a service designer financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The core team will work with other experts and elderly citizens targeted by the programme. The team will expand its understanding of customer needs by interviewing residents at public health stations, service centres, city libraries, adult education centres and shopping centres. 

The programme will grow the understanding of Helsinki in what obstacles there are to be physically active and what opportunities there are to make activities easier and more attractive. The programme seeks to ensure that there will be thorough understanding of the problem from the point of view of the elderly before a single solution is put forward. 

The programme is part of the City Innovation Track in the leadership and management training to mayors provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University. Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori participates in the training. 

Read more:

Exercise and Mobility Scheme Project

Helsinki exercise and sports programme (in Finnish)