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Five from Finland

Combating a sedentary lifestyle

Get up and at ‘em for 2020 with the help of these five Finnish firms.

Julia Helminen

Finland is known for encouraging people to sit less and move more, with also businesses playing their part in combating sedentary lifestyles.

Nowadays, people spend more than half of their waking hours sitting – in front of a TV screen at home, behind a desk at work or on the commute. Having such a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health.

These five Finnish brands will get you off the sofa and moving!

On a mission to spread the joy of movement worldwide, this chain of indoor activity parks is designed for youngsters of all fitness levels and offers a wide variety of fun activities, including trampolines, zip wires, pedal car racing and skateboarding.

With the first SuperPark opened in Finland in 2012, the concept quickly proved to be a big hit and started its international expansion. Now, the chain’s activity parks can also be found in Hong Kong and mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

“We want our clients to have fun while doing physical activities together,” noted Taneli Sutinen, country manager and development director. “They also get exercise of course, but exercise is almost a side product.”

Understanding the importance of helping people to combat the health hazards of sitting, Fibion has developed a product that offers comprehensive sitting and activity analysis to support the work of health and fitness professionals.

The pocket-sized Fibion measurement device accurately tracks the user’s physical activity, including sitting and standing. The accumulated data is presented in the form of a balance board and helps to determine whether the person meets sitting-time recommendations.

“From an individual’s point of view, already standing up from the chair regularly helps in losing weight and keeping blood sugar levels stable, and thus improves mood, vigour and concentration,” stressed co-founder Olli Tikkanen. “From a behavioural point of view, it is important to show people how small things matter for their health.”

Inspired by pure Nordic nature and Scandinavian design, FitWood’s unique fitness equipment not only motivates you to exercise more, but also brings style to your home. In fact, the brand is trying to create a new product category for design home fitness equipment.

“If the equipment would be in plain view [and ready to use] all the time, it would support a more active lifestyle,” pointed out founder and CEO Matias Kukkonen. “We started to question why design thinking has not been applied to fitness equipment, when it is part of everything else in our homes.”

Using unique high-end technology, the Helsinki-based sports tech company has managed to transform a traditional exercise stick into a personal mobility trainer. Equipped with sensors to analyse mobility and movement, the TE3 Mobility Training Stick gives real-time feedback via vibration if an exercise is done improperly.

It comes as no surprise that the Finnish innovation is appreciated by sports professionals both in its home country and abroad. In 2019, the company established co-operation with two NBA teams and an NHL team, which tested the product to better understand their own mobility limitations and imbalances.

“Mobility is already a trend, but there hasn’t been a measuring device for it that can be used anywhere,” said CEO Ari Laakkonen. “Physiotherapists and other professionals can use our stick for more detailed measurements, while home users can test themselves, get advice on what to do and follow their progress.”

If turning your home into an interactive yoga studio sounds like a cool idea, then consider trying this Finnish mobile app that has been enjoying great international success since its launch in 2014.

With over 100 live interactive classes of yoga, pilates, stretching and meditation broadcast every week, it’s easy to find those that feel right and correspond to your fitness level.

“We offer an easy access to dozens of live classes every week,” explained founder and CEO Mikko Petäjä. “If you would like the instructor to see what you are doing, you just switch on your web camera. You can also watch recordings of the live classes whenever it suits you.”

By: Zhanna Koiviola