Research on health and well-being

Research in the Faculty of Sport and Health Science

The Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences bears prime responsibility for conducting research in the field of sports and physical exercise in Finland. The Faculty plays a significant role in the development of health science research as well.

Our research concerns broadly the entire course of human life. The aim is to increase and maintain people’s health, functioning and well-being.

The focal areas of the Faculty’s research include:

• Research on the culture of sport and physical exercise as well as on physical education
• Human aging - especially changes in functioning when growing old
• Neuromuscular mechanisms and adaptation in the context of physical exercise
• Research of health promotion and health education

Other major fields of research:

• Sport and Exercise Psychology, adapted physical activity, and dance
• The role of sport and physical exercise in society and related planning and decision-making system
• Physical exercise in health promotion, proactive and reactive health care, and rehabilitation
• Physiotherapy methods and their evaluation
• Health and well-being among children and youth, and health education at school

A strong area of our research in the Biology of Physical Activity deals with neuromuscular functions and adaptation mechanisms with regard to various physical exercises and related training effects. Other important targets of this branch of research include the influence mechanisms of physical activity for the occurrence of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. We are also doing a lot of applied research in the field of biology of physical activity, e.g. in collaboration with sport and welfare technology companies and with various sports. Research on the physical fitness of military personnel is conducted in collaboration with the Finnish Defence Forces.

Gerontological research deals with the functioning of aging population and staying active at an old age. Essential viewpoints in this research include the course of life, people’s relationship to their surroundings, and biological and psychological differences in aging. Main research areas are, for example, elderly persons’ physical activity, physical and mental functioning, social participation and promoting these, and the change mechanisms thereof. Research in the fields of Physiotherapy and Sports and Exercise Medicine highlights the effects of physical activity on decreasing and preventing the risks of chronic diseases, as well as in related health care and rehabilitation and especially in maintaining the mobility and physical capabilities as well as brain functions of the elderly and the sick. Research targets include the structure and metabolism of muscle, bone and articular cartilage as well as the interaction between various tissues. Health Promotion research is focused particularly on children’s and youth’s health behaviour, health status and health-related knowledge and what can be done to affect these.

Physical Education research concentrates on physical education at school, teacher training in physical and health education, motivation for physical activity and motoric learning, and physical activity and sport related behaviour at different points of the course of life. Research in the Social Sciences of Sport is interested, for example, in civic activity in the field of sport, sport-related behaviour in the population, sport environment policy, sport planning and management, and competitive and top-level sport.