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Exercise Day of Your Dreams in the coronavirus era: Small changes to daily routines make a difference

Every year on 10 May, the City of Helsinki takes part in the Exercise Day of Your Dreams, an event coordinated by the Finnish Olympic Committee that encourages everyone to try out different forms of physical activity. This year, the focus is on staying active during lockdown.

Last year’s Exercise Day of Your Dreams was a success in Helsinki, with 365 different opportunities for exercise – 238 of which were organized by the city. The City of Helsinki’s Education Division alone arranged close to 200 events designed to encourage people to try out different sports, take part in competitions, go on forest excursions, activate seniors outdoors, and recycle sports equipment. The Mayor of Helsinki challenged city employees to join him in climbing the stairs in front of the Helsinki Cathedral.

This year, the coronavirus outbreak has changed the nature of the event, but not its spirit. Even though many daily routines or sports activities may have been put on hold, our need for regular exercise remains.

“It is understandable that the risk of contracting the coronavirus has many of us scared, but we can’t stop moving. I want to encourage everyone: Physical activity is both possible and highly recommended during this period. We only have to do it safely, and avoid close contact with others. Being active is vital for all of us in normal times, but now it is even more important. I call on all municipal employees in particular to move more and sit at home less,” said Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori in his April 7 info session.

Helsinki will be on the move on the Exercise Day of Your Dreams, as it is every day of the year as part of its Helsinki Liikkuu Physical Activity Programme, which promotes every day movement. Even small additions can boost energy, clear our minds, cheer us up and keep aches and pains at bay. There are plenty of ways to move without coming into close contact with others. Take a walk in the spring sunshine with someone from your household or on your own. Many people have found new ways to exercise indoors and outdoors since the coronavirus outbreak, and this kind of creativity should continue.

The City of Helsinki has made the promotion of physical activity one of its spearhead projects, and every municipal service is encouraging residents to move more in new ways. These efforts were even recognised nationally, as Helsinki was chosen Finland’s Most Active Municipality at the 2020 Finnish Sports Gala.

The annual Exercise Day of Your Dreams also makes it possible to shine a light on new exercise and movement innovations. Although many events associated with the day have been cancelled, you can still participate by promoting physical activity on different social media and digital channels.

Join in the Exercise Day of Your Dreams by going online on May 10 to:

1. Share a photo or video using the hashtags #ExerciseDayofYourDreams or #helsinkiliikkuu. Add more hashtags as you wish, for example, to show support for your sports club or fitness community.

2. Encourage your friends, children, parents, grandparents, work colleagues, students and others to stay active: “This is how I am spending my Exercise Day of Your Dreams. How about you?”

The Finnish Olympic Committee will recognize those who have used the hashtags and shared a useful tip or inspired others with an award. www.helsinkiliikkuu.fi www.unelmienliikuntapaiva.fi

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