Liikuntapolitiikan koordinaatioelimen LIPOKO:n vieraana Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriössä 23.5.2024 – Teemana digitaalisuus

YLLI- ja YLLI 2.0 -hankkeet kutsuttiin kertomaan havainnoista ja tuloksista liittyen liikunnallisen elmäntävän edistämiseen, ja erityisesti tiedon saatavuuden ja saavutettavuuden sekä digitaalisuuden näkökulmista. YLLI:iä edusti tilaisuudessa asiantuntijaesitelmöitsijänä Petteri Muukkonen. YLLI-tutkimushankkeessa havaittiin kaksi tärkeää näkökulmaa digitaalisuuteen.

Ensinnäkin tunnistimme liikunnan ja liikunnallisen elämäntavan saavutettavuuksissa useita ulottuvuuksia, ja niistä yksi on tiedon saavutettavuuden ulottuvuus. Digitaalisesti saatavilla oleva tieto esimerkiksi kunnan liikkumismahdollisuuksista ei aina tavoita kaikkia yhdenvertaisesti. Joissain tapauksissa kunnan tai kaupungin verkkosivut saattavat olla vaikeaselkoiset, vaikeat navigoida tai ne eivät ota huomioon kielellistä diversiteettiä. Lisäksi vähän liikkuvat esimerkiksi ikääntyneet eivät välttämättä omista sopivia laitteita tai eivät omaa tarvittavia teknisiä taitoja saada ja saavuttaa kunnan digitaalista viestintää ja tietoa liikkumismahdollisuuksista.

Toinen huomio on se, että liikunnan ja liikkumisen edistämisessä digitaalisuus pitää nähdä tietolähteenä. Ilman tietoa liikkumisesta – tai liikkumattomuudesta – ei voida suunnitella ja toteuttaa toimia asian edistämiseksi. Suunnittelun kehittämisen tulee olla tiedolla tuettua. YLLI-hankkeessa testattiin muun muassa sosiaalisesta mediasta saatavaa täydentävää digitaalista tietoa asukasryhmien liikkumiskäyttäytymisestä, kuten esimerkiksi ulkoilupaikkojen tai -alueiden käytöstä. YLLI-hankkeessa havaittiin, että sosiaalisesta mediasta saatava tieto voi täydentää tilastoja, barometrejä ja kävilaskurien aineistoja, jos esimerkiksi postauksessa tai viestissä on käytetty paikannimeä tai alustasta, tai palvelusta riippuen mahdollinen sijaintitunniste on ollut aktivoituna. Huomasimme kuitenkin myös, että sosiaalisen median aineisto on vinoutunutta, ja siinä on aktiiviset sosiaalisen median käyttäjät yliedustettuina. Eikä kaikki ihmiset edes ole eri somekanavaissa. Liikkumisesta sosiaalisen median kautta saatava tieto ei siis edusta koko väestöä.

YLLI 2.0 -kehittämishankkeessa on saatu kuulla kuntien kanssa pidettävissä työpajoissa ja seminaareissa, että aiemmin mainittu tiedon saavutettavuus on keskeinen haaste tai este eri väestöryhmien saamisessa liikkumaan. Tämä tarkoittaa siis liikkumismahdollisuuksia koskevan tiedon tai informaation löydettävyyttä, saavutettavuutta, saatavuutta sekä kielitietoisuuden huomioimista siinä. Nämä usein unohtuvat digitaalisessa viestinnässä ja tiedottamisessa. Kaikilla ei ole samanlaisia mahdollisuuksia päästä digitaalisen tiedon äärelle.

Guest of the Coordination body for sport policy (LIPOKO) at the Ministry of Education and Culture on 23.5.2024 – Theme: Digitalization

The YLLI and YLLI 2.0 projects were invited to present findings and results related to promoting a physically active lifestyle, particularly from the perspectives of information availability and accessibility, and digitalization. The project was represented at the event by the research project leader Petteri Muukkonen. The YLLI research project identified two important perspectives on digitalization.

Firstly, we identified several dimensions of accessibility in physical activity and an active lifestyle, one of which is the accessibility of information. Digitally available information about, for example, a municipality’s physical activity opportunities does not always reach everyone equally. In some cases, the municipality’s websites may be difficult to understand, hard to navigate, or may not consider linguistic diversity. Additionally, those who are less physically active, such as the elderly, may not own suitable devices or have necessary technical skills to receive and access the municipality’s digital communication and information about physical activity opportunities.

The second observation is that in promoting physical activity, digitalization should be seen as a source of information. Without data on physical activity – or inactivity – actions to promote it cannot be planned and implemented effectively. The development of planning should be supported by relevant data. In the YLLI project, supplementary digital information from social media about the physical activity of resident groups, such as the use of outdoor places or areas, was tested. The YLLI project found that information from social media can complement other statistics, barometers, and data, especially if posts or messages include place names or, depending on the platform or service, if the location tag is activated. Anyhow, we also noticed that social media data is skewed, with active social media users being overrepresented. Moreover, not everyone is present on various social media channels. Therefore, information about physical activity obtained through social media does not represent the entire population.

In the YLLI 2.0 development project, workshops and seminars held with municipalities have revealed that the previously mentioned accessibility of information is a significant challenge or barrier to getting different population groups to be physically active. This means the discoverability, accessibility, availability, and language awareness of information about physical activity opportunities. These aspects are often overlooked in digital communication and information dissemination. Not everyone has the same opportunities to access digital information.

YLLI 2.0 -hankkeelle jatkorahoitus

YLLI 2.0 -hanke on saanut myönteisen rahoituspäätöksen opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön Liikunnallisen elämäntavan valtakunnalliset kehittämisavustukset -rahoituksesta. Uusi rahoitus kattaa toimintakauden 1.6.2024-31.5.2025. Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön avustuksen päätavoitteena on lisätä väestön liikuntaa ja fyysistä aktiivisuutta Suomessa koko elämänkulussa ja erityisesti vähän liikkuvien keskuudessa. Avustuksen turvin YLLI 2.0 jatkaa liikkumisen saavutettavuuden yhteiskehittämistä kuntien ja muiden sidosryhmien kanssa myös seuraavan vuoden ajan.

Fortsatt understöden av YLLI 2.0-projektet  
YLLI 2.0-projektet har fått ett positivt finansieringsbeslut från undervisnings- och kulturministeriets Riksomfattande utvecklingsunderstöd för en motionsinriktad livsstil -understöd. Understöden omfattar verksamhetsperioden 1.6.2024-31.5.2025. Understödets huvudsakliga mål är att öka utövandet av motion och idrott och den fysiska aktiviteten hos den finländska befolkningen under hela livscykeln, i synnerhet bland personer som rör på sig för lite. Tack vare understöden kommer YLLI 2.0 att fortsätta att utveckla tillgängliga fysiska aktivitet tillsammans med kommuner och andra intressenter under nästa år. 

Continued funding for the YLLI 2.0 project  
YLLI 2.0 project has received new funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture’s National Development Grants for Physical Lifestyle -fund. The new funding covers the operating period from 1 June 2024 to 31 May 2025. The main goal of the grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture is to increase physical activity of the population in Finland throughout the life course, and especially among those who are physically inactive. With the renewed funding, YLLI 2.0 will continue improving the accessibility of physical activity with municipalities and other stakeholders.  

People and Planet 2024

YLLI (Equality in suburban physical activity environment) project participated in the international People and Planet Conference in Lahti on February 13-15, 2024. The aim of the conference was to examine the connections between individual health and planetary health and to discuss ways to protect and improve planetary well-being. Scientists shared research results, proposed solutions, and discussed the themes with each other. The title of the conference ”From theory to solutions” reflected the essential goal of bringing researched knowledge and expertise into practice and finding science-based solutions to tackle sustainability challenges.

YLLI project’s presentation introduced data and information tools for enhancing physical activity equality and accessibility. We also participated in the speakers’ panel discussion about healthy and sustainable mobility.

The conference brought together researchers, decision-makers, and experts from various backgrounds. Participants consisted of environmental researchers, urban planners, architects, doctors, statisticians, and municipal workers among others. The speakers strongly agreed that interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration are essential for promoting planetary well-being and sustainability. 

Read more about the conference: People and Planet 2024 | University of Helsinki

Conference opening words in Fellmannia campus building. (Photo: Liisa Vänttinen)
Discussion of leaders at Lahti City Hall. (Photo: Liisa Vänttinen)

YLLI-työpaja Raumalla

YLLI-hanke järjesti yhdessä Rauman kaupungin kanssa liikkumisen yhdenvertaisuuteen keskittyvän työpajan 9.11.2023. Raumalla on käynnissä uuden liikkumissuunnitelman laatiminen, ja työpajassa osallistujilla oli mahdollisuus päästä vaikuttamaan tulevan liikkumissuunnitelman sisältöihin. Osallistujia oli kattavasti kaupungin eri toimialoilta, alueen urheiluseuroista, hyvinvointialueelta, seurakunnasta sekä muista alueella toimivista järjestöistä. Työpajassa pohdittiin pienryhmissä keinoja saavutettavuuden lisäämiseen, yhteistyön kehittämiseen sekä liikkumissuunnitelman jalkauttamiseen. Saavutettavuutta tarkasteltiin erityisesti soveltavan liikunnan, matalan kynnyksen harrastetoiminnan ja luontoliikunnan näkökulmista. Anonyymin palautekyselyn perusteella työpaja auttoi tunnistamaan saavutettavuuteen vaikuttavia tekijöitä aiempaa paremmin (4,2/5). Työpajan tärkeimpänä antina nähtiin mahdollisuus päästä keskustelemaan ja jakamaan ideoita alueen muiden toimijoiden kesken. Yhteistyötä liikkumisen edistämiseksi toivottiin myös jatkossa Rauman alueen toimijoiden kesken.  

Työpaja järjestettiin Rauman kaupungintalolla.

New university students facing accessibility obstacles when moving to new cities for their studies

After moving to Helsinki for my university studies at University of Helsinki, it took me a great while before returning to my normal exercise routine. Having a past of elite sport, I feel the best when working out daily, but due to moving to another city and focusing more on my studies, I reduced the amount of physical activity. It was not an active choice to stop working out, it just happened because of not knowing good affordable workout locations in Helsinki. If I wanted to go workout, it usually ended with me pushing the idea forward after not being able to decide what kind of gym to use. I did not consider getting a membership to Unisport gym, which is an affordable gym for students, because it was too far away from my home, but then other gyms closer by where too expensive or very small, I did not either want to bind myself to one place before knowing for sure if it was the right place. These where some of the reasons why my physical activity declined after moving to another city for studying. I thought I was lazy and unmotivated to not workout, but in reality I was facing physical activity obstacles which can reduce or prevent physical activity. How does the accessibility to physical activities effect students? What could make it more accessible?

Author: Mathilda Lassenius

Physical activity obstacles

Throughout the YLLI-project the most common obstacles have been categorised and used to find out what are the most usual physical activity obstacles that prevent Finnish residents from living an active lifestyle. Most people find that either lack of time or a depressive mood are the biggest factors that limits them from doing physical activity, and those who experience the most obstacles are people with a foreign mother language, single parents, 30–40-year-olds and low-income earners.

It is not possible to put university students under the same category as people who are already working nor with young adults, because of different lifestyles. Most university students rely on the economic support from the government and most being low-income earners, students might face more obstacles. Throughout the studies it varies a lot how much time you have, in the beginning of the studies students are very busy with new studies and student activities, which means they probably suffer from the lack of time but further on in the studies it gets easier to handle studies and free time activities.  

Spatial dimensions

Mean travel time of students

In the Helsinki region there are plenty of built and formal exercise options, offering both public and private sport facilities for everyone, some even offer affordable gym subscriptions for students. Neither the quantity of nor the spatial distance to sports facilities is a reason to not doing physical activity in Helsinki. Most students live close to sport facilities in Helsinki, in the inner-city students are within walking distance to many sport facilities, having less than 5 minutes of travelling time (Mäkelä & Nylander 2022). On the table above, you see that most people live closer than 5 minutes to gyms and outdoor sport facilities in Helsinki. Accessibility through spatial dimensions is not an obstacle in Helsinki, unless you live in the outskirts, although most students live closer to the campuses or the city center.

Lack of information

When I moved to Kamppi I knew the area, but I did not know where to do physical activities. There are plenty of exercise options, but to know where everything is situated takes time. In the beginning of the studies, it is very hectic and finding a routine with all new activities was tough. Not knowing where the best gyms are or what options you have, or what sports facilities are near your normal route, might put you off from doing physical activities. Dimension of information is one of the accessibility obstacles, which has been more often reported to be a factor hindering people from doing physical accessibility than the amount of sport facilities or their quality. The lack of information and knowledge is an obstacle when wanting to exercise, especially when you haven’t got yourself settled down yet. This is what happened to me, and I know many of my friends have struggled with this too. I had plenty of gyms close to where I lived, but most where too expensive for my budget. There are many other sports facilities, but when first moving there I did not know where anything was.

Therefore, I can say that the lack of knowledge was my biggest obstacle to physical activity when moving to a new city. It helps to talk to people to find out about their preferences and to see on social media where other people do sports. There are free services like LIPAS which is a national database of sport facilities and their condition, so you can see what types of sports activities exist close by. Knowing about this website could have helped me find outdoor gyms, and different indoor sports activities. For example, there is an outdoor gym on my normal jogging route around the Hietaniemi cemetery, but it is hidden away on the beach where you don’t walk past, so I did not know about the outdoor gym before finding it online. When becoming familiar with the area, the lack of knowledge will become a smaller obstacle but still be existing.

Global pandemics affect on the amount of physical activity

It is also important to emphasize Covid-19 share in creating obstacles regarding accessibility of physical activity. Having most gyms being closed down, and the possibility of being shut down again after the strictest restrictions had been lifted, was an uncertainty which might have affected people’s choices to commit long-term to sport facility memberships. During Covid-19 people reported to be doing less physical activity than before the pandemic, this is a result of most sport facilities being shut down and people working from home (VLN 2020).

For the first year of the pandemic I avoided gyms but tried to stay active by doing other physical activity such as running, but I was less active than before the pandemic. I started studying during the pandemic and with all courses being online, there was no need to walk and take public transport to school, I tried to walk as much as possible during the day, but it was not close to the same as before covid. Working out was usually difficult with all distractions resulting in never being a long workout, I find it much easier to focus at the gym where I have access to plenty of equipment. Therefore, my workouts where much shorter than before and they did not meet up with the recommended amount of physical activity. After the restrictions got lifted there was always the possibility of closing again, which at resulted in me waiting until the most rules had been lifted, which was almost two years after the first covid restrictions.

Balance between studies and being active

It is important that students continue with physical activity when starting university because physical activity helps to release stress and brings a balance to your life. Especially in Helsinki where there is a lot of sport facilities, it would be important to have easier access to information. Therefore, students or other people who are new to the city could find sport facilities matching their interests. The information needed is for example where the places are, the opening times, entry fees and student discounts, equipment in the sport facility and if there is group activities you can join. This would already reduce the obstacle of lack of information, making it easier for students to find areas to do physical activities year around.

Sources:

Valtion liikuntaneuvosto (2020). Koronapandemian vaikutukset väestön liikuntaan. Valtion liikuntaneuvoston julkaisuja 2020:2.

 Mäkelä, H. & Nylander, B. (2022) Students’ accessibility to sport facilities in Helsinki and in Jyväskylä regions.