These are the means by which the new government wants to increase the physical activity of students

We asked the party representatives before the election how they intend to improve students’ physical activity. Here are the responses.

In the Opiskelijaliike (“Students moving”) podcast, of the politicians that were interviewed, representatives of the National Coalition Party, Finns Party and Christian Democrats are involved in the government negotiations. Sari Essayah, president of the Christian Democrats, obviously sits in the main negotiating table of the negotiations.

Sari Multala of the National Coalition Party sits at the A skilled Finland reform table, dealing with all activities under the Ministry of Education and Culture, such as policies regarding exercise. Kike Elomaa of the Finns Party, on the other hand, sits in the Culture, sports, physical activity and youth reform table under the A skilled Finland reform table.

National Coalition Party: Exercise guidance by health care services

Multala says that the government measures to increase people’s physical activity benefits mainly those who already exercise. She would promote exercise guidance first and foremost.

“We could develop models in place in municipalities for health care services, the Finnish Student Health Service, etc. to provide guidance on how to exercise."

According to Multala, higher education too could make a contribution without any specific policy measures. You should be able to do exercise in their premises, and cycling, for example, should be supported with safe parking spaces.

Finns Party: The carrot and stick method

Elomaa would prefer to continue exercise programmes such as the Universities on the Move. She would also like to include some compulsory exercise in higher education, like during her own nursing studies when they had to run the Cooper test.

“So a combination of a carrot and stick, there must be a way of doing it. Providing financial support for it is also super important.”

Swedish People’s Party and Christian Democrats: Student livelihood is crucial

Sari Essayah of the Christian Democrats and Silja Borgarsdóttir Sandelin, Vice President of the Swedish People’s Party, both highlight students’ livelihood.

“The most important thing is to ensure that students have a sufficient income. This correlates very much with how much they are able to make use of exercise services,” says Essayah.

She also emphasises the premises and environment of higher education institutions to encourage people to be more active.

“The most important things for the next government is to create stability for higher education students to ensure that every student can balance their studies and an active lifestyle. It is important to view the everyday life of students and see how they can support themselves and whether they are under a great deal of pressure to complete their studies,” says Borgarsdóttir Sandelin.

She adds that higher education does not have enough incentives to take the promotion of student exercise and wellbeing seriously.

Listen to the interviews in the election episodes of the Opiskelijaliike podcasts:

Photo: Tyshawn Hall-Johnson, FilmWalk

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