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New higher education community challenges students towards sporty everyday life

Published on 30.9.2019
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Lenkkarit, Pixabay
Only every third higher education student exercises enough from the health perspective. The Tampere Universities community has more than 33,000 students. Many of them need support for maintaining their wellbeing. Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ What Makes Me Exercise project has built a wellbeing path for students. Related professionals can be found along the path.

“The visual path informs students who to contact if they need support for maintaining their wellbeing during their studies,” tells Project Manager Anne Ketola from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK).

The wellbeing path is based on professionals’ cooperation model, which streamlines student services. The model will also be established as a standard procedure in other higher education institutions.

More exercise innovatively

“Students have participated in the project actively. They have for example implemented sport events on the higher education community’s campuses,” Ketola states. “Multidisciplinary student groups have encouraged other students to increase their everyday exercise with the theme ´a small change makes you feel good´.”

Innovative elements have been used to increase the exercise level. In the project, TAMK’s business information systems students developed several mobile games to promote exercise and physical activeness.

Building and testing games culminated in TAMK’s game fair, where the project rewarded Healthiona as the best game in addition to the game specialists’ and public’s choices. Healthiona is a story-based adventure where the player progresses by completing everyday exercise challenges and fighting against monsters. All the games can be found at Google Play.

The project has also tested cooperation partners’ virtual and digital applications that activate to exercise or measure the exercise level. For example, CSE Entertainment’s iWall motivated many students to exercise during the test period of 1.5 months.

Construction architecture and physiotherapy students also mapped activeness in campus facilities. “The analyses gave us ideas on how to increase activeness in campus facilities with small changes,” Ketola tells. The Finnish Student Sports Federation has driven the ideas forward nationally.

Classroom workout increases everyday exercise

As a result of the project, chosen students also make surprise visits to classrooms to reduce sitting time. They have already encouraged hundreds of students to classroom workout. “We received positive feedback on that surprisingly small things stimulate the body and mind and give energy to studying,” tell nursing students Emmi Pajusuo, Juuli Virtanen and Josefina Rantala.

Students’ wellbeing is also increased through a developed study unit called Healthy Students. The free-choice study unit is available for all students of the higher education community. During it students test different sports and receive expert tips to support their wellbeing.

Pekka Hyysalo in the final event

The final event of the What Makes Me Exercise project will take place in the main auditorium of Tampere University of Applied Sciences on 30 October 2019 at 12.00-15.30. The event is functional and interactive with pop-up stands and the Pepper robot. The keynote speaker is Pekka Hyysalo, who tells at 14.00 what motivates him to exercise. The event is open for all participants.

The project participants are the Finnish Student Sports Federation, City of Tampere’s Student Health Services, Finnish Student Health Service and Tampere Universities community. Other important project partners are SportUni and the student unions of Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University (TAMKO and TREY). 

The project started in March 2017. It is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Further information:

Project Manager, Master of Health Care (Physiotherapy)
Anne Ketola

anne.r.ketola [at] (anne[dot]r[dot]ketola[at]tuni[dot]fi)
040 572 78 81

Project website


Social media accounts of the project:

Game portal and games