The Think-tank: A breath of freshness

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):

Film_bilde 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.

3B9B0227-75Happiness 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.

The eight o’clock trip
With her group, Melhus took hold of the3B9B0419-92 challenge associated with being inactive, and presented a solution that uses Norwegians’ use of everyday routines.

– 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.

Meeting the Minister of Health

On April the 26th, the Activity Alliance think tank «A Breath of freshness», met the Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie. He was presented with ten new ideas for how he can get people out off the couch. At the same time the young opinion leaders urged the Minister to be the country’s new minister of activity.

Four of the members of the Activity Alliance’s think tank «A Breath of Freshness» invited the Minister of Health to a walking meeting. The Think tank, consisting of 16 young opinion leaders in public health, was created earlier this year to think in a new way about physical activity. The Health Minister himself thought the ideas were innovative and exciting.

─Today, I have received ten creative suggestions, and we will take these into consideration while working with the new public health. I welcome a new opportunity from the Activity Alliance to work on the proposals, said Høie.

─ We hope the ideas will make a good contribution to more physical activity and improved public health. The Activity Alliance made Høies predecessor to the National Health Minister and now we want to make Bent Høie an activity minister, said Lars Erik Mørk, spokesperson for the Activity Alliance.

See video from the meeting (english subtitles):

Film_bilde2

Think fresh and unconventional
Physical activity is the fourth leading cause of premature death. According to figures from the Norwegian Health Directorate, the Norwegian society will save 239 billion NOK if the people followed the recommendations for physical activity. However, effective campaigns and initiatives were the people change their behavior is difficult to achieve. Allowing the young people to think outside the box is the main idea behind the think tank, and the ideas they came up with, can be found in this article.

─ We wanted to think in a new and unconventional way to find solutions to get people out off the couch. We feel that the ideas presented today respond well to the challenge we are facing. We are hoping that the Minister of Health will contribute, says Magnus Nyløkken from the Think tank, and daily employed in The Association for the Promotion of Skiing.

Activity Lottery of the State
One of the ideas that were presented was the Activity Lottery, where people participate by documenting physical activity. The more activity, the more tickets, and hence a higher chance to win the prize. The idea is to inspire the most activity.

─ Then gambling will not be a problem, however healthy, said Høie and referred to his humorous proposal.

These 10 ideas were presented to Bent Høie:

1 Activity Lottery of the State
The people participate by documenting their physical activity. The more activity, the more tickets, and hence a higher chance to win the prize A large monthly prize, and several small prizes. Half of the prize goes to the participant; the other half is donated to a society initiative for more physical activity.

2 The eight o’clock-trip
Establish a new habit in the adult population; an evening walk at eight o’clock.

3 A 15-minutes activity at work
The employer provides 15 minutes of activity during the working day; e.g. Walking- meetings, walking or cycling to meetings, lunch trail or joint training 15 minutes before they leave office.

4 An information Office for movement
An office for anyone who wants help to start moving. The users get tips, advice, reviews and inspiration. This can be operated as a public-private-partnership (PPP).

5. Screen-break
A campaign that encourages all parents to show children how to use physical activity as an ideal break from the screen. Take the kids out for a walk and show how active breaks can increase the screen pleasure afterwards.

6 Activity Stations
Establish public activity stations in parks, service buildings, airports, etc. Can for example consist of instruments to play around in, balance or roll band you can walk on while you are waiting.

7 Walking-discount
Everyone walking to and from the grocery store get discount points on their grocery. This is an unique opportunity for the retail industry to give their contribution to public health.

8 Playful day
People are tired of pointing fingers and rational facts about why they should exercise. Communicating in a new way will be more motivating: Physical activity is fun, rewarding in itself and with the positive health effects as a bonus. Play around for a better life!

9 Activity-app for the whole family
An aid for families who need inspiration and specific tips on activities and events etc. This might come in different digital versions. Enter who you are, where you are and when you will be active and get more suggestions on what you can do.

10 Activity allowance
Get tax allowance for each day you are as active as recommended by the authorities. Option: The whole population has full allowance from the beginning, but loses a portion each day you do not document the recommended level.

About The Activity Alliance

The Activity Alliance is a promotional partnership between seven players in physical activity, lifestyle and preventive health, which aims to get more Norwegians physically active.

The Activity Alliance consists of The Gjensidige Foundation (safety /prevention), The Norwegian Trekking Association (Outdoor Life), VIRKE training (fitness centers), The Cross Country Association (cross country skiing), The Cyclists’ Association (bike for sport & transport), The Sports Industry (Sports industry) and Grete Roede (food and nutrition courses).

A conservative estimate states that we represent more than 1.1 million memberships (total population in Norway is 5.1 million).
Our campaign «Yo go!» currently has more than 36,000 followers on FACEBOOK.
Through our campaigns and initiatives, we work to raise awareness among the adult population about the importance of taking responsibility for their own health and be good role models for children and others around them by engaging in physical activity.

The reason is that inactivity is about to become our greatest health problem, with consequences for both health budgets as well as the individual’s quality of life.
Therefore, we favor no forms for activity, but believe that all physical activity is good, that it must be simplified and that obstacles should be removed, so that it is easy and attractive to increase the level of activity in everyday life.

The 10 ideas

1. Activity Lottery of the State
The people participate by documenting their physical activity. The more activity, the more tickets, and hence a higher chance to win the prize A large monthly prize, and several small prizes. Half of the prize goes to the participant; the other half is donated to a society initiative for more physical activity.

2.The eight o’clock-trip
Establish a new habit in the adult population; an evening walk at eight o’clock.

3. A 15-minutes activity at work
The employer provides 15 minutes of activity during the working day; e.g. Walking- meetings, walking or cycling to meetings, lunch trail or joint training 15 minutes before they leave office.

4. An information Office for movement
An office for anyone who wants help to start moving. The users get tips, advice, reviews and inspiration. This can be operated as a public-private-partnership (PPP).

5. Screen-break
A campaign that encourages all parents to show children how to use physical activity as an ideal break from the screen. Take the kids out for a walk and show how active breaks can increase the screen pleasure afterwards.

6. Activity Stations
Establish public activity stations in parks, service buildings, airports, etc. Can for example consist of instruments to play around in, balance or roll band you can walk on while you are waiting.

7. Walking-discount
Everyone walking to and from the grocery store get discount points on their grocery. This is an unique opportunity for the retail industry to give their contribution to public health.

8. Playful day
People are tired of pointing fingers and rational facts about why they should exercise. Communicating in a new way will be more motivating: Physical activity is fun, rewarding in itself and with the positive health effects as a bonus. Play around for a better life!

9. Activity-app for the whole family
An aid for families who need inspiration and specific tips on activities and events etc. This might come in different digital versions. Enter who you are, where you are and when you will be active and get more suggestions on what you can do.

10. Activity allowance
Get tax allowance for each day you are as active as recommended by the authorities. Option: The whole population has full allowance from the beginning, but loses a portion each day you do not document the recommended level.