Fit for Life Program

Fin­land has de­ve­lo­ped na­tio­nal prog­rams for eve­ry pha­se of li­fe-cour­se to pro­mo­te health and phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty. Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram (Kun­nos­sa kai­ken ikää -oh­jel­ma in Fin­nish) is a na­tio­nal ini­tia­ti­ve fun­ded by the Mi­nist­ry of Edu­ca­tion and Cul­tu­re and Mi­nist­ry of So­cial Af­fairs and Health. The prog­ram is al­so sup­por­ted by the Mi­nist­ry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Mi­nist­ry of Eco­no­mic Af­fairs and Emp­loy­ment, Mi­nist­ry of the En­vi­ron­ment and Na­tio­nal Board of Fo­rest­ry (Met­sä­hal­li­tus). Foun­da­tion for Pro­mo­tion of Phy­si­cal Ac­ti­vi­ty and Pub­lic Health LI­KES sr. has suc­cess­ful­ly coor­di­na­ted the prog­ram sin­ce 1995.

Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram aims to inc­rea­se well­being and en­han­ce the phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty le­vels of wor­king-aged peop­le. Prog­ram’s goal is to ac­ti­va­te and help se­den­ta­ry adults to start phy­si­cal­ly ac­ti­ve way of li­fe, re­du­ce se­den­ta­ry li­fes­ty­le and inc­rea­se phy­si­cal­ly ac­ti­ve com­mu­ting (wal­king and cyc­ling). Cross-sec­to­ral coo­pe­ra­tion is a cru­cial prin­cip­le in­teg­ra­ted in­to the prog­ram and it aims to st­rengt­hen coo­pe­ra­tion and net­wor­king bet­ween or­ga­ni­za­tions ope­ra­ting in health en­han­cing phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty.


Funding for local projects

To­day mo­re than 4 000 lo­cal pro­jects ha­ve been imp­le­men­ted around the count­ry with help of prog­ram’s fun­ding. The goal of the lo­cal pro­jects is to lo­wer the th­res­hold to be­co­me phy­si­cal­ly ac­ti­ve by of­fe­ring them op­por­tu­ni­ties for gui­ded group exer­ci­se, star­ter cour­ses in dif­fe­rent events, fit­ness tes­ting, in­di­vi­dual fit­ness gui­dan­ce, etc.

Health care approaches to HEPA promotion

Phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty coun­sel­ling is a form of health pro­mo­tion that fo­cu­ses on in­di­vi­duals. It is es­pe­cial­ly in­ten­ded for peop­le who do not get enough phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty for their health and well­being. Phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty coun­sel­ling aims to mo­ti­va­te cus­to­mers to exer­ci­se in their pre­fer­red ways, pro­mo­ting their own health and well-­being.

Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram is coo­pe­ra­ting with the UKK Ins­ti­tu­te to launch and de­ve­lop phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty coun­sel­ling as part of the phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty ser­vi­ce chain, com­mis­sio­ned by the Mi­nist­ry of Edu­ca­tion and Cul­tu­re and the Mi­nist­ry of So­cial Af­fairs and Health.

Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram is res­pon­sib­le for: de­ter­mi­ning the qua­li­ty of phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty coun­sel­ling; pro­vi­ding fi­nan­cial sup­port for coun­sel­ling pro­jects; coor­di­na­ting trai­ning cour­ses in phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty ser­vi­ce chains and phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty coun­sel­ling; pro­mo­ting ways of brin­ging up the to­pic of phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty; and col­lec­ting va­rious mo­dels and dis­se­mi­na­ting the­se for use by dif­fe­rent par­ties. The work is car­ried out in coo­pe­ra­tion with a broad net­work of ex­perts.


Workplace HEPA promotion

Fit for Life Program is supporting establishment of HEPA services for work communities. Program promotes employees’ ability to work and wellbeing at work through actions enhancing physically active and healthy lifestyle. In cooperation with employees, management and personnel administration, occupational health care, trade unions and other operators, program emphasizes HEPA on well-being programs particularly for sedentary employees in work communities. Via networking, counselling and funding for HEPA actions program is trying to find out ways to activate employees to physically active lifestyle, to reduce sedentary time at workplaces, to promote physically active commuting, and to develop PA service chains at occupational health care. Program is also producing free of charge HEPA materials for work communities.

Environmental approaches to HEPA promotion

Fit for Life Program supports development of policy and practice that promote activity-friendly environments. Community designs that prioritize recreation space and facilitate walking and biking can increase everyday opportunities to be active. Fit for Life Program provides public sector, municipalities and workplaces with information, funding and networking that allow them to promote active environments.

Fit for Life Program is also a coordinator of a cross-sectoral active environment working group that has participants from different ministries, governmental authorities and advocates (since 2000). Working group has a common goal on making our environments activity-friendly through wide-ranging expertise, cross-sectoral collaboration and effective communication.



Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram has al­so car­ried out ma­ny well-known na­tio­nal cam­paigns tar­ge­ting be­ha­vio­ral chan­ge, mo­ti­va­tion and cul­tu­ral sus­cep­ti­bi­li­ty; examp­les inc­lu­de the Ad­ven­tu­res of Joe Finn cam­paign, Stair Days cam­paign and the Jour­ney to­wards Fit­ness. The­se cam­paigns ha­ve been an ef­fi­cient way to ins­pi­re ci­ti­zens and dif­fe­rent com­mu­ni­ties to pay at­ten­tion to their dai­ly phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty and die­ta­ry choi­ces.

Materials to professionals and target groups

Worth men­tio­ning are the ma­te­rials that Fit for Li­fe Prog­ram has pro­du­ced to health en­han­cing phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty (HE­PA) pro­fes­sio­nals and to se­den­ta­ry tar­get groups. Examp­les of the free of char­ge ma­te­rials inc­lu­de; phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty and se­den­ta­ry ti­me trac­king cards, phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ty gui­de books for dif­fe­rent tar­get groups and healt­hy li­ving gui­de books etc. The prog­ram pro­du­ces al­so re­ports and gui­de books of best prac­ti­ces of the HE­PA pro­jects.

More information
Program Director, docent Jyrki Komulainen PhD
email jyrki.komulainen (at)
phone +358 500 542 193

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