On the 21st and the 22nd of February, 16 young opinion leaders from across Norway met at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences to rethink future solutions related to physical activity. The result was two days of inspiration, lively discussions and good ideas. In addition surprising information about Norwegians activity habits were revealed.
-Feel that you are living, Oddbjørn Alstad screams to the assembly of the young talents, while they are competing in the Canadian Ball Game, Omnikin. One hour with physical activity is a good start when the theme is physical activity.
The 16 participants – all under 30 years – are running around in the gym. Everybody is already clearly engaged in the first activity of the day. Afterwards they are going to draft tomorrow’s solutions to get people off the couch. But first they need to work out their legs. Starting the day at the gym is not coincidental; being active together is an effective and fun way for the participants to get to know each other, and before they begin the series of exciting talks with the country’s leading competences and personalities.
Check out the video from the event (English subtitles):
Only 30 minutes is sufficient
Elin Kolle, Associate Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, presented how little it really takes to get a great health benefit from physical activities.
– Contrary to the impression one might get from the media, the health benefits are very large, if inactive adults are active for 30 minutes every day. It does not mean that you have to exercise half an hour every day. Walking or cycling to and from work, combined with a couple breaks standing during the workday is all it takes. Yet, very few people actually does.
Kolle presented figures showing that only 1 in 5 achieves the recommended activity level of 30 minutes a day.
– We Norwegians consider ourselves as an active nation, but when it comes to physical activity, we are on par with the Americans. Two things must be done. First, physical activity must be prioritized by politicians, and second, there must be new and different thoughts on this theme. That is why you are here today, said Kolle.
Blames “the eternal chase”
Former pro cyclist Mads Kaggestad, tried to explain some of the reasons why people are lazier than we should be. Through working with getting different firms in shape he has made valuable experiences:
– “The Eternal chase” and the focus on body, performance and results do not apply to all. Those who do not feel that the «ideal» goals are realistic, may believe that physical activity simply not is something for them, said Kaggestad.
He believes personal success is what they should be dealing with. Instead of comparing themselves with others or top athletes on TV, they should rather challenge their own skills.
Happiness gives motivation.
TV-celebrity Ida Fladen could not agree more. Through her show “Project Perfect” she tested all the fitness and diet tips that the media told her would make her life perfect.
– What I experienced throughout my three months as a tester, was that it was the activities I thought was fun that gave me the strongest motivation, said Fladen.
In addition, she stressed how the little things often made the big differences, such as taking squats while waiting for the coffee maker.
– It may not look so smart, but it’s certainly more fun than staring at the maker, and it worked for me, completed Fladen.
In his lecture, Sport Scientist, watercolorist and poppingdancer Halldor Skard, also drew attention to the pleasure of being in motion:
– People often associate physical activity with something they must do, and are often told that they will get sick or overweight by not. I believe this is the wrong attitude. Movement and activity should be fun and give a pleasure, and that is exactly what we need to focus on in the communication.
With homemade instruments distributed to the audience and the sound system on full blast, Skardbakken got the Think-tank participants to move with an ease they’ll never forget.
Small push gives large differences
Specialist in psychology Jan-Ole Hesselberg, known from the Norwegian television, learned the talents about human behavior and how we react stronger if we have nothing to lose, rather than something to win.
– If we lost 100 NOK every time we skipped the evening walk or the training session, the statistics on physical activity had looked pretty good. It may not be the final solution to the problem, but it indicates that there are other ways to think about how we should get people out off the couch, he added.
8 challenges, 8 Solutions
With new insight and inspiration to think in a new way, the discussion started. After a while the youth activity leaders were left with eight main challenges they would grasp:
1 With new messages how can motivate people to be physically active?
2 How can the workplace be used to get more people to do physical activities?
3 How to increase the daily activity of the adult population?
4 How to get politicians to prioritize measures for more physical activity?
5 How can we get more kids active?
6 How to capture and influence the young people between 16 and 19?
7 How can adults become better role models for those around them when it comes to physical activity?
8 How to get more immigrants in physical activity?
With the challenges in order, the 16 talents were divided into four groups to generate new ideas to the questions. Then they choose the best idea to develop.
– By thinking outside the box and grab the opportunities, we discovered that we can create solutions that do not require too much resources, says Hanna Melhus, participant from the Activity Alliance partner, DNT.
– A big part of our culture and values are characterized by routines. We eat lunch at 11 o’clock, leaving work at 4 o’clock, eat dinner at. 5 o’clock, watching children’s television at 6 o’clock and watching the evening news at 7 o’clock. So why not introduce the «8 o’clock trip» – a walk every evening for 30 minutes at 8 o’clock, added Hanna.
The Eight o’clock trip was one of the eight innovative solutions that were presented during the weekend. The solutions will be presented to the minister of health in a few weeks.
Spokesman for the Activity Alliance, Lars Erik Mørk, was very pleased with the event and the new proposals that were put forward.
– We saw the value in having the young leaders to think freely, without taken into account what has been developed earlier. It was clear that the commitment was high from the first hour, and that this think tank has established knowledge and insight for us in the alliance which will be used again. Maybe someday we have the 8 o’clock tour and other new ideas as a regular routine in our society, all thanks to some wise heads that came together this weekend in February 2014.