The Activity Alert visited OLL’s General Assembly in Kuortane

The Activity Alert, which has become very popular at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, visited OLL’s General Assembly at Kuortane Olympic Training Center.

The Activity Alert is a symbol which can be added to any presentation to remind both the audience and the lecturer of the importance of taking breaks from sitting, changing position and including even a little bit of movement into lectures. When the Activity Alert appears it is time to move!

The Activity Alert was brought to Finland from Scotland by Juuso Jussila, sports coordinator for the sports services at Centria University of Applied Sciences, who says that the alert was very popular among the students there. A minor downside was that sometimes students weren’t really paying attention to the presentation, and instead competed to be the first to spot the Activity Alert. The fastest got to preform the next exercise.

What would your community’s Activity Alert look like?

How did the Activity Alert work at OLL’s General Assembly? Pretty well, but there is still room for improvement. Below we have listed a few observations which will most likely also apply to other environments:

  1. When the Activity Alert is first introduced in a new environment, it should be demonstrated properly.
  2. Ideally the symbol should be used fairly regularly (e.g. every 5 slides) throughout the presentation.
  3. Varying the size and placement of the Activity Alert keeps the audience interested. A few times during the OLL General Assembly the Activity Alert was so small that no one noticed it until it was pointed out.
  4. At the start it is a good idea to have someone leading the whole thing, so that they suggest a shared exercise to do when the Activity Alert appears (e.g. a couple of squats).
  5. Also remember to suggest alternative exercises so that everyone can participate (instead of squats people might also open up their shoulders by rolling their arms).
  6. When launching the Activity Alert, it's worth relying on the power of positive repetition. This way the community has more time and opportunities to join in.
  7. The General Assembly unanimously accepted the motion by Aalto University Student Union to make the appearance of the Activity Alert more inclusive. It’s a good idea to design the symbol to match the community. What would your community, student union or university’s Activity Alert look like?

The world is full of different kinds of presentations. At universities, PowerPoint presentations are an inexhaustible natural resource. When we include the Activity Alert in our presentations, we can harness this renewable resource to help promote daily physical activity.

Jussi Ansala

Senior Special Advisor for University Sport

Author profile: Jussi Ansala

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