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Exercise and Well-Being

World-renowned for its expertise in sport and health science, Jyväskylä is one of this industry’s hubs in northern Europe. There you find the key Finnish research organisations and academic training programmes. Sport and health science research brings business opportunities for companies, as markets for health and well-being technology solutions are growing rapidly.

 Jyväskylä has strong research and technology expertise with a good base for operations. We are home to:

  • The University of Jyväskylä's Viveca Expertise centre of well-being creates new operating models and transfers its sport and health science expertise to businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations. Viveca is located at the Hippos sport and exercise centre.
  • The LIKES Foundation for Promotion of Physical Activity and Public Health, and the KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports are significant actors in combining research, technology and business in the industry.
  • The School of Health and Social Studies at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences is a well-respected educator in the field of health and well-being.
  • New business opportunities and companies emerge at the intersection between fields. For example, Firstbeat Technologies provides a technological solution based on heart rate analysis to optimise performance. Founded in Jyväskylä in 2002, Firstbeat has become a leading provider of physiological analytics for sports, fitness and well-being.
  • Hippos will be a hub for sport, well-being and exercise just outside the city centre. In coming years, 300 million euros will be invested in the development of Hippos.

Jyväskylä is particularly proud of its international expertise in the following areas: physical activity and biology research into neural and muscular function, health sciences, impact of physical activity on health and ageing, and health promotion. Jyväskylä is home to Finland's only gerontology research unit and a training unit for university-level exercise-industry specialists. One of the area's particular strengths is developing new research-based services and solutions for learning, sport and well-being.

Almost all Finnish companies with significant exports in the sport industry have one way or another applied to their business research and expertise available at the University of Jyväskylä's Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences or the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. The University of Jyväskylä's faculties of education, sport and health, information technology, humanities, and brain research continue to attract the fields' top researchers to Jyväskylä. The KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sport, LIKES Foundation for Promotion of Physical Activity and Public Health, and the Finnish Olympic Committee's High-Performance Unit's operations in Jyväskylä regularly attract top industry professionals to the city.

Jyväskylä's strengths include specialist expertise with sport and health sciences, a people-oriented approach, smooth implementation of new service solutions, cooperative models between public and private sectors and related technology, and Jyväskylä’s status as a trailblazer in the export of education and development of well-being services. The University of Jyväskylä's Viveca Expertise centre of well-being works in cooperation with leading international partners to develop new operating methods and tools that help build business out of research findings and student-sourced ideas.

Jyväskylä is a centre of expertise in sport-related business and research. It enables:

  • new business opportunities based on joint development
  • the development of new product, service and business concepts based on research with a network of national and international partners
  • competitive tools and networks for starting up and growing a new business.

Hippos is an international-level hub for sport, exercise and well-being that provides optimal conditions and networks for the development of new innovations. Read more about the development of Hippos at:

Kuva:PES-Arkkitehdit Oy
Kuva:PES-Arkkitehdit Oy

Image: Firstbeat
Image: Firstbeat
Examples of companies from Jyväskylä offering innovative concepts:

  • Firstbeat Technologies Oy ( individual well-being analysis based on heart rate measurements, precise energy consumption calculations
  • Salivirta Oy / Salivirta & Partners ( health care information systems solutions
  • Humap Oy ( occupational well-being development from a management perspective
  • Emfit Oy ( safety devices for the elderly and patients with dementia (electronic films for monitoring movement and falls)
  • Smartum Oy ( manages employee benefit programmes (the company was the first to introduce exercise and culture vouchers to the Finnish market), a significant national player and pioneer in its field.
  • Mobra Finland Oy ( ) offers companies exercise programme planning, coordination and implementation to promote personnel well-being. In addition to themed courses, exercise modules, introductions to various sports and group exercise lessons, Mobra also provides nutritional advice and guidance.
  • MinSim Oy ( offers health care simulation-based training to mimic patient situations in training for professionals and students. Patient or procedural simulators or other practice models are used in the training.
  • Iwello Oy ( is a specialist company which focuses on the strategic management of occupational well-being and provides well-being services for individuals and companies.


GeroCenter is a research and development centre focusing on promoting well-being and functional ability in the aging population. Its task is to develop operating models based on evidence and new rehabilitation perspectives. GeroCenter’s operating models are used to prevent deterioration in functional ability. In addition, some models are applied to rehabilitation, treatment and care.


  • produces and productises best practice models to prevent illness and deterioration in functional ability, to maintain working ability, and for treatment and care work
  • develops and produces multidisciplinary methods to assess and measure functional ability
  • develops and assesses well-being technology tools
  • draws up recommendations and programmes to promote an individual, engaging lifestyle and quality of life for aging people and the elderly
  • provides training and consultation in accordance with the centre’s principles and objectives.
  • cooperates with regional, national and international research and development units and service organisations

LIKES Research Center for Physical Activity and Health

The purpose of the LIKES Foundation for Physical Activity and Public Health is to promote physical activity and public health, and to support research in these fields both in Finland and abroad. In order to achieve this, the LIKES Foundation maintains the LIKES Research Center. LIKES' mission is to encourage Finns to exercise sufficiently. LIKES' core activities include carrying out multidisciplinary and internationally respected research, coordinating national programmes to promote physical activity (e.g. Finnish Schools on the Move and Kunnossa kaiken ikää, ‘Active at all ages’), and providing specialist services.

Multidisciplinary research into physical activity, health and well-being is carried out at LIKES. The research has strategically focused on children and young people. Particular attention is paid to people with low levels of physical activity. Read more at:

The KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports

The KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports is unique even on an international scale. KIHU acts as an information leader promoting the production, distribution and use of information. KIHU leads the Finnish Olympic Committee's expertise programme. The aim of the programme is to promote high-level expertise in Finnish sport. Administratively KIHU is divided into bioscience, social science, behavioural science and health care units. In addition, KIHU is responsible for the operations of Sports Lab Jyväskylä, which specialises in testing and coaching services. Its partners include the JAMK University of Applied Sciences and the University of Jyväskylä.

KIHU’s top international expertise combines sport research, development and expertise. KIHU is active in various networks, leading and coordinating the networks' operations. KIHU’s participatory expertise activities aim to create, develop and share information and know-how with athletes, coaches, national sports federations and local sports associations. In elite sports, KIHU's specialists support the coaching process.

An athlete’s path starts in childhood. KIHU cooperates closely with sports associations so that children and youth of the future would also find the world of sports inspiring. In children's and youth sport, activities focus on researching various phenomena.

One important task for KIHU is to acquire, edit and distribute information for various sports organisations and individual athletes. KIHU also has top skills in interpreting data. Various assessments, investigations and systematic data acquisition, as well as comparisons between international sports systems are examples of KIHU's areas of expertise.

Image: KIHU
Image: KIHU

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