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Sport in Finland

Finland is a sports nation, and it’s hard to imagine the county without sports and exercise – keeping fit and active is second nature to the Finns.

According to a survey by the European Commission (2010), Finland tops the podium in physical activity in Europe, and it also places among the most active countries in the world.

Sports are the number one hobby among children: More than 90 percent of those under 18 are physically active. Sports activities take place in clubs or in informal groups of friends. Favourites include football (soccer), ice hockey, floorball and various forms of gymnastics.

Of the adult population, 90 percent exercise at least twice a week and more than 50 percent at least four times a week. Adults favour sports that are easy to fit into their busy schedules, such as running, going to the gym and exercise classes that are conveniently scheduled at different times of the day.

Finns also love to rally around their teams and root for their athletes. Over 70 percent of Finns either attend sporting events or watch sports via the media.

There are 13 sports institutes in Finland, each specialising in certain sports. They offer excellent facilities for competitive and professional athletes as well as hobbyists. In addition, the institutes are important educators in sports-related professions at both secondary and university levels, and boast leading expertise in areas such as testing and sports technology.

Research in sports science takes place at the University of Jyväskylä and the Research Institute for Olympic Sports (KIHU). Other institutes performing sports research include the Foundation for Sport and Health Sciences (LIKES), the UKK Institute and sports medicine centres around the country. Finnish sports and exercise scientists are renowned worldwide.


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