Open Air Exercise

Nature Makes You Active

Finnish adults prefer to be physically active in either a genuine or designed natural environment. Natural environments are full of stimuli in addition to encouraging people to engage in physical activity. This is why outdoor exercise can feel less strenuous than indoor sports. A varying terrain also encourages people to walk faster than in urban landscapes.

Many people feel that open air exercise makes them feel healthy and well. The more you move around outdoors, the stronger the well-being effect of nature is. Indeed, it has been noticed that people who move around outdoors are more likely to exercise repeatedly than those who exercise indoors.

Nature is the Best Playground

Photo: Kati VähäsarjaCompared to indoor environments, meandering paths, rocks, tree stumps and trees naturally encourage children to be more physically active: to climb, jump and run and play freely using their imagination. All of this is important to a child's development. Motor skills help children to learn, be creative and become better at solving problems.

Nature also reduces restlessness and disruptive behaviour among children. Forming a strong bond with nature during childhood can support a child in later life.

Opportunities for all kinds of Exercise

Nature offers a versatile environment for independent exercise, which is usually free of charge. Programme organisers often offer services at a variety of natural destinations, making it easier to go outdoors and find new ways of enjoying open air exercise.

Local associations also organise outdoor activities. If you would like to see something new, send your suggestions to local societies and associations.

Health Benefits of Open Air Exercise

Simply walking briskly for 2.5 hours a week across a period of five days or more, or engaging in brisker activity such as running for 1 hour 15 minutes a week, has major health benefits which have been scientifically proven. These include better weight control, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

If you move around regularly and avoid long bouts of sitting, this can help to prevent chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal problems. Regular activity is as important to your health as not smoking!

Photo: Petri Jauhiainen