EXTREME SPORTS MAKE MY SUMMER

Written by Monday, 10 August 2015 12:43

This summer has not been the most welcome to outdoor activities. Even thoug there is a saying: "There is no bad weather only inappropriate clothing" - it is even more true if you live in Finland. Finns are always ready to be outside and do the fun stuff!

The recreation possibilities in Turku are almost limitless - from 18 year olds to 50+! Well almost - each of us are different and we love different hobbies. Speaking of the rain last week: I was playing soccer with my colleagues in Kuppitaa park in the rain, it didn't seem bothering them at all - awesome!

I try to be as active as possible so no weather conditions can stop me. I live with the motto: "Happy Mind Healthy Body Strong Soul". The more active we are and the more familiar we become with our body, the happier we can be.

All of us can find the things that make us happy. For me it´s sport. I feel free and free of thoughts and concerns when I am active.
There are no problems that can bother you when you fly the kite in 10 m/s wind. The power that Kite generates is insane, there is no room for error. That is the beauty of extreme sports.

The kite is that weird sail flying 25 meters above your head. First time I saw it I thought: Cool, I want to try it. I did, and after two days of training I thought: There is no way I can get going with the board and still fly that devil.

It took me like 10 hours of shame walk and frustration to learn Kitesurfing. I definitely suggest it to everyone who like speed, power and extreme feelings on the water. The feeling when you jump from the water 5m high is unique. You simply fly and at the same time your mind is occupied with the fact that you would like to land at some point, and it better be safe... Well, no one ever has left hanging in the air, thank God!

Speaking of activities and the weather, three things can keep me quite busy trough out the whole year: cycling in the summer, snowboarding in the winter and kitesurfing from April until October. Gym and AcroYoga are great options for rainy days. The great thing about all these is that you can do it here – in Turku. We have beautiful parks to go out and do yoga, great cycling roads and nice cycling culture, and last but not least Kitesurfing in Ruissalo.

The must do is the Archipelago Trail. It is approximately 250 km. Do it with the bicycle and a group of friends. It took us three days, one liter of Rum and lots of fun to finish the root. There are many beautiful views and local people who are willing to help you. I have to mention that it was raining the first day of the trip, but it did not kill our mood, because we had a cottage with sauna - and the rum.

Facebook can also be useful. Not only dog and cat videos can be found there, but also "Cool stuff" about activities in Turku parks. There are joint activities like Park yoga and other activities, where random people get together and just do stuff. How awesome is that?

I have been enjoying park yoga this summer and also AcroYoga. I never thought that Yoga can be fun and quite challenging.

Stay active and think positive, good luck!

I ALSO HAVE A DREAM

Written by Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:12

I have a dream. A well-known and often cited phrase from the speech Martin Luther King gave in 1963 fits in to many scales. My dream is way more modest and local than the dream that King had as a champion of peace and equality. Yet it has some similar aspirations and it affects the life of many a inhabitant in Southwest Finland.

I have a dream where the recreational areas would remain within the reach of as many inhabitants and tourists as possible, and in the future would be used by all the inhabitants or travellers regardless of where they live or which municipality or organisation owns the area.

Furthermore I dream that these areas – even the tiniest ones – would be interconnected by a regional network of recreational hiking, outdoor or biking routes into a large regional network.

Although every year 96 percent of Finns go out for hiking, backpacking or Nordic walking, only minuscule amounts of resources have been invested for supporting development of these recreational activities. Indeed, the resources allocated to the development of trails and the small structures that support the recreational areas are very small, when compared to the number of people using the areas and trails. Compared to this other types of sports and activities cost a lot more to the society.

All hiking trails with their support areas are built and maintained by public funding. Furthermore, when quick fixes for financial shortfalls in public funding are sought for, the recreational areas are usually the first targets for funding cuts.

Even though almost every one of us enjoys the recreational areas and routes, there is no ombudsman or other single actor to oversee and promote the interests of the recreational areas.

Yet, my dream also involves a hope, that people would see beyond the money and funding issues and recognize the positive outcomes that arise from the increased well-being of the inhabitants, their improved welfare in the working life and the overall attractiveness of the area. Finns search for strength in the nature every day.

An average Finn engages in 2-3 recreational activities in the nature, and those 170 times that he/she goes out in the nature yearly demonstrate and emphasize the sense and the obvious importance of developing and maintaining nearby outdoor trails and recreational possibilities.

But there are clouds in the horizon of hiking and outdoor activities. The article by Tuija Sievänen and Marjo Neuvonen in a book "Hyvinvointia metsästä" clearly points out that on the average, hiking or similar kind of outdoor activity is becoming the past time of far older people than was the case ten years ago. For this reason I dream about a situation where we could provide easily accessible and versatile recreational areas and clearly marked routes to younger hikers. The understanding and the respect of the nature doesn't come about if one never go out into nature.

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland has taken a grip of a part of this huge totality by promoting the idea of creating a regional recreational association to Southwest Finland. Southwest Finland is a multifaceted area.

The newly nominated supervisor of parks of Metsähallitus said recently that the only thing we miss here in Southwest Finland are the reindeers.

If we only through active and devoted cooperation could form a regional association that would promote the interest of the recreational areas and routes we wouldn't just take baby steps towards my dream. We would take a huge leap closer towards a situation where the quality of life in Southwest Finland is the best in the country.