Anna Laurila: Everyone is entitled to exercise in all municipalities

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Anna Laurila, candidate of National Coalition Party in Tampere, blogs about the municipal elections.

Exercise and sports may be an everyday joy for some, a profession, or a cause of anxiety for others. Therefore, physical exercise and sports should not only stand for jogging trails or ice hockey clubs, but a more diverse approach, so that their importance and opportunities for development can be understood at the municipality level.

Physical exercise should be easy, effortless and smooth, and possible both in an organised and voluntary manner. This includes, for example, supporting and promoting sports clubs and organisations, as well as simpler issues such as the accessibility and adequate maintenance of sports facilities. Supporting exercise can mean a sufficient number of park benches to provide resting places for the elderly on their way to the shops, or well-maintained skiing and hiking trails.

Physical exercise and sports have also been highlighted by the National Coalition Party in Tampere. Cross-sectoral development is required to support physical exercise. The city, organisations and businesses can work together for a more physically active Tampere and to enhance the well-being of the city's residents.

Tampere must make physical exercise and its promotion a strategic priority in its work to improve well-being. In my opinion, diverse opportunities for physical exercise, and their provision to students, are of utmost importance. During the pandemic, it has become particularly clear that the city is teeming with young adults looking for friends and like-minded company. In terms of both social and physical well-being, support should be provided to people in finding themselves a hobby as well as friends in order to maintain an active lifestyle.

However, physical exercise and sports are based on everyday acts. Such an everyday act can be, for example, cycling to work or to one’s study location, or choosing to walk to the shops.

The municipality should therefore make sure that the cycling routes are in good condition, pedestrian and bicycle ways are safe to use, and that there is a sufficient number of places around the city for the safe storage of bicycles. This would help young people and students in particular. Effective urban planning takes into account not only motorised transport but other increasingly diverse modes of transport as well.

My heart belongs to culture and beautiful urban environments. Physical exercise and culture belong together, too. Tampere, like other municipalities, must offer more cultural experiences in order to promote physical activity. The beautiful light artworks in the centre of Tampere attract people to explore their surroundings on foot, just as the torchlight walk in Lappeenranta attracted people from the city to walk on the ice. I want more freedom for artists and support from the city for creating art in our environment. A beautiful city and well-kept nature trails encourage people to exercise and appreciate the environment.

The barriers between culture and sports must be demolished and experiences offered to city residents. The lights at Tampere Central Square and tours of various museums make Tampere residents of all ages exercise as if by accident. We should therefore provide well-maintained and beautiful sports venues that are easy to reach. Tampere has beautiful nature and beautiful routes, but to use them, there must be fewer “No winter maintenance” signs in the cityscape and more opportunities for physical experiences.

Anna Laurila

Anna Laurila

The author is a 23-year-old candidate of the National Coalition Party in the municipal elections in Tampere. She is a student body and national student movement activist. Themes important for her include an equal society and the well-being of students.

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