Exercise – Adaptation


Municipalities’ responsibility to ensure opportunities for exercise centres on building and maintaining exercise facilities. In addition to the outdoor sports and green areas, municipalities are responsible for most of the networks and land areas that enable exercise, including parks, fishing waters, bicycle trails, and other outdoor routes. If we are to maintain diverse exercise opportunities that last well into the future, these must be kept in good condition.

Winter sports moved indoors?

Sports dependent on weather can, to some extent, be supported by indoor halls and through heating and cooling systems built into sports fields and other sports facilities. However, tunnels for skiing, public indoor swimming pools, and ice rinks increase municipalities’ energy consumption considerably. A better solution would be to seek alternative forms of exercise.

Climate change is related to weather events becoming more severe. Exceptional weather phenomena, such as heavy snows and storms, may damage light-structured sports halls. In addition, unpredictable weather conditions and seasons, as well as shorter winters, impede cost-effective maintenance of outdoor sports facilities and reduce local residents’ enthusiasm for weather dependent sports hobbies. Furthermore, in some places, the very existence of specific sports locations is threatened, as seen for tour skating tracks or ski tracks made on natural ice by skiers.

How will we exercise in the future?

In addition to climate conditions, the population structure and cultural trends have a major impact on exercise habits. A good example is the increased popularity of Nordic walking. Building of skateboarding and snowboarding arenas is another. It will be interesting to see how much we will be ready to invest in the use of artificial snow in skiing halls, for example, and how much the variation in the snow situation is going to affect traditional outdoor sports in nature.

However, indoor halls do not necessarily need to consume vast amounts of energy. For example, old empty industrial buildings are suitable for skateboarding even without heating and, at the same time, mild winters extend this sport’s outdoor season. Temperatures have a strong impact on willingness to swim in natural waters. For a municipality, a well-maintained beach is a small investment in preparation for warm summers.

References [1], [2]