blog – matleena livson

National emergency? Remember 112 hours!

Did you know that while Finnish leisure-time physical activity has increased over the past decades, everyday physical activity has significantly decreased? On average, a person is awake for 115 hours a week. If you spend three of those hours on fitness activities, you have 112 hours left. If you remain passive during that time, exercise alone, despite its importance, isn’t enough to compensate for too much sitting.

Before you continue reading this blog, I ask you to stand up and take a short walk.

Small Changes, Big Effects

Increasing everyday physical activity doesn’t require a major lifestyle change but rather small changes in daily choices and mindset. Ideally, everyday movement becomes a habit that you don’t even have to think about.

Reading this article while standing has already improved your alertness, increased your energy expenditure, and activated the muscles that keep you upright. Easy, isn’t it?

Increasing daily activity is important and deserves more attention. Find ways that work for you. The good news is that all ways of moving are beneficial! Life situations vary, and it’s not always easy to find time for formal exercise. That’s why everyday movement is truly smart exercise. You can significantly increase your total activity level with just a few minutes of movement throughout the day. Climbing ten flights of stairs a day means 3,650 flights of stairs climbed in a year!

Keys to Change

Make a Decision

An active lifestyle requires conscious choices, and it all starts with our decisions. Many people have a sedentary daily routine, but small actions can increase daily activity. You can start by walking to the store, parking further away, walking during phone calls, doing yard work, playing outside with the kids, and simply avoiding prolonged sitting during the work or school day.

Start Gradually

  1. Don’t try to add too much exercise to your daily routine too quickly. Introduce one new routine at a time. You’re more likely to succeed if you choose a simple activity that brings you closer to your bigger goal and can be done daily. This could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  2. Think about when and where you can do the chosen activity. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter daily. Every time this specific time and place arise, do the chosen activity! So every time you arrive at work or the stairwell at home, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every single time.

    I succeeded in rehabilitating my shoulder after surgery using this method. Every time I put something in the microwave or brushed my teeth, I did certain short stretches that needed to be done multiple times a day.
  3. Although you need to make conscious choices initially, it becomes easier over time. Studies show that, on average, after about 10 weeks, you will find yourself doing the chosen activity automatically without even thinking about it. And if you miss one time, don’t worry. Nothing falls apart; just keep moving forward!

My shoulder recovered – and I still do those seemingly dull stretches. Maybe that’s why my shoulder is quite flexible!

Find an Enjoyable Way to Move

All exercise is beneficial, but the most important thing is to find a form of exercise that inspires and suits your situation. When you find a sport or activity you enjoy, it increases the likelihood that exercise will become a permanent part of your life. Be bold and try new sports, and remember that you can be very active in everyday life even if you don’t see yourself as particularly sporty.

Make Your Own Promise to Move More – Today!

I want to inspire you to be part of a larger force for change and make your own promise to move more with the hashtags #LupausSuomelle / #LöftetillFinland. You can make the promise in your own life or within your community, as a family member or friend, colleague, or coach. You can find other participants’ fun ideas and thoughts at

Now it’s time to help by making daily life more active: join in and make your own promise!

Matleena Livson
Senior specialist
Olympic Committee, Movement and a physically active lifestyle