Increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time among school-aged children

Finnish Schools on the Move is a national action programme aiming to establish a physically active culture in Finnish comprehensive schools. Schools and municipalities participating in the programme implement their own individual plans to increase physical activity during the school day. More than 90% of municipalities and of comprehensive schools (2 116 schools) are involved in the programme.

Finnish Schools on the Move programme started with a pilot phase (2010-2012). In years 2015-2018 the programme was one of the key projects in the field of knowledge and education in the Government Programme of Finland. The programme is carried out by the Finnish National Agency of Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme is financed with lottery funding and coordinated by the LIKES Research Centre for Sport and Health Sciences.

Physical activity and sedentary time

The promotion of physical activity among school-aged children consists of both increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time.

  • During the school day, physical activity can be increased by adding more physical education lessons, promoting active commuting and encouraging physically active breaks.
  • During schools lessons, sedentary behaviour can be decreased by implementing active learning methods involving short active breaks, in order to support optimal learning and avoid long periods of continued sitting. Decreasing excessive sitting during school lessons is an opportunity for all school personnel to participate in the programme ideology.

Research and follow-up

LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health is monitoring the progress of the local Schools on the Move projects, and conducting scientific research on the physical activity of schoolchildren. For more information, please visit LIKES' website.

Material in English

Towards more active and pleasant school days. Interim report on the Finnish Schools on the Move programme 2015-2016.
General presentation on Finnish Schools on the Move programme.
Active body, active mind. How does physical activity affect learning? Research study summary by Heidi Syväoja.
School makes you move and sit still. Finnish Schools on the Move research results 2010 to 2015. Tuija Tammelin, Janne Kulmala, Harto Hakonen & Jouni Kallio.
Changes at the Schools in the Move 2013-2015. Students physically active designers of school activities. Tuija Tammelin, Jouni Kallio, Katja Rajala, Harto Hakonen & Kaarlo Laine.
Facts Express 1C/2018: Physical activity during the school day and learning. Summary of the status review. (Finninsh National Agency for Education)


Finnish Schools on the Move videos in English

Want to learn more?

Interested in study visits in our schools, consultation or training? We offer multiple options for getting familiar with Schools on the Move and the research and follow up in the programme. The Schools on the Move concept consists of different services related to making the school day more active. These services have been divided into three areas: creating an active culture, developing the pedagogy and increasing movement.


Mr. Jouni Kallio, PhD
Programme Coordinator, Researcher
Phone: +358 40 744 0947

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