Promoting exercise must be a cross-party team sport
Promoting exercise and counteracting the increased lack of physical activity must be made one of the priorities in the new government programme. This way all parties can become messengers of exercise.
The exhilaration and excitement of the election has arrived. The advance voting is done, and over the last few weeks, the streets have filled with cheerful candidates and their campaign teams.
Party politics may seem very divided, especially in many of the panel discussions when an election is approaching, but that was not the case at the party leaders’ debate on sports and exercise, which was held during the Finnish Sports Gala. All the party leaders who took part in the debate agreed that exercise must be promoted, and that the lack of exercise is a problem needing to be tackled.
Another thing which shows how important exercise is for our health is that the election manifestos of nearly all parties include an entry related to sports.
In general, exercise seems to be the kind of topic which doesn’t cause major political disagreements. Research into the impact that exercise has on health has been ongoing for a long time, and even from an economic perspective it is not unclear which is better; to exercise or not to exercise. Exercise-related topics have been highlighted well in the political discussion ahead of the election, and I hope that this trend will continue.
Another thing which shows how important exercise is for our health is that the election manifestos of nearly all parties include an entry related to sports. The Centre Party highlights exercise in nature, while the National Coalition Party focuses on tackling the lack of physical activity. The SDP, the Green League and the Left Alliance want exercise to be available to all in terms of both cost and accessibility. The Swedish People’s Party wants to ensure good exercise opportunities, while the Christian Democrats want to reduce the VAT rate on sports services. There are many important points regarding exercise which we would very much like to see in the next government programme. Here at OLL, we are working to see university students acknowledged better in the inter-administrative decision-making in the upcoming term of office.
It’s great that we have mayor players with a positive attitude towards exercise and sports and who have been profiled as proponents of these matters. A more extensive change would, however, require a larger group of decision-makers and more legitimacy.
The political parties have the means, but there is still room for improvement. Including the entries on sports in the party manifestos is a significant step towards a more physically active society. The next step would be concrete action, which is sorely needed. It would be more than desirable that exercise is put on the agenda more strongly and concretely in all areas of administration, so that all parliamentary parties are committed to promoting exercise. It’s great that we have mayor players with a positive attitude towards exercise and sports and who have been profiled as proponents of these matters. A more extensive change would, however, require a larger group of decision-makers and more legitimacy. Together we can achieve more.
The traditional “same goal through different approaches” idea has its applications both in sports and in many other themes which promote an affluent society. Different opinions are needed, but when it comes to the promotion of exercise, a shared will is important. I hope that the new government will work hard to promote exercise and offer concrete methods to fight the lack of physical activity.
Exercise is our shared cause across political and administrative lines.
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Page last updated 29.3.2023