The Power of Example - An interview of two people who move

Ilpo Jalamo interviews a 7-yr-old and an 102-year-old to find out why and how they keep physically active.

A blog from Ilpo Jalamo, one of the Finnish developers of Asahi Nordic:

The Power of Example

In Finland, the lifestyle isn’t as physically active as it used to be. Children don’t play games outside, and they don’t ski to school like previous generations did. Teenagers have traded in outdoor activities on sports fields for indoor video games. And adults would rather sit than walk anywhere. Inactivity is the reason behind more and more work disabilities and increased medical costs. The grimmest predictions show that 20 years from now 40% of Finnish people will be in weak physical health. That means they will have trouble even doing routine daily activities. The fuse is lit on the bomb of inactivity.

There are many reasons for inactivity among young people and adults. For one thing, many sports have gotten very expensive. Now that the subject has come to the forefront, the government has had to react. There must be a way to get people moving again, one way or another!

However, trying to force or coerce people usually has a completely reverse effect. The cost of inactivity, though, is surprisingly high. Caring for people in weak physical condition is expensive business for society as well as for individuals.

There are differences in the minimum recommendations for weekly physical activity for each age group, but in general, everyone needs about 2 hours a week of more vigorous exercise that raises the heartbeat, and a few sessions per week of muscle strengthening and coordination practice. When daily chores can be counted as fulfilling part of these recommendations, staying in shape doesn’t really take as much time and effort as you might think.

There are so many forms of exercise available these days, it seems it would be easy for everyone to find a way to move that suits them, whether it be walking, training at a gym, or mountain climbing. Asahi is one way to meet the weekly exercise recommendations. Its health effects have been generally accepted as being beneficial, even though on the surface it looks to be gentle and easy to do. Asahi is also very inexpensive.

There is no way to force people to exercise, and not even logical explanations or common sense can get some people off their couch. Netflix, chips, chocolate and hamburgers win out over a good walk outdoors.

What about the power of example? Wisdom wells from the mouths of children and the authority of years of life experience speaks for those who have lived long lives. That’s why I interviewed Vivian Skews, seven years old, and Mauri , 102 years young.

Tell us something about yourself:

Mauri: In 1939 I applied as a volunteer to the Finnish Air Force Academy and tested into the program. The fourth training course started on April 29, 1940. During the Continuation War (as WWII is called in Finland) I was a reconnaissance and fighter pilot. After the war I studied to be a commercial pilot and flew more than 20,000 hours during that career.

I have always played a lot of sports: Finnish baseball, soccer, iceball?. I competed in slalom skiing before the Winter War (1939-40) already, and later, cross country skiing. I competed at the world champion level in fly fishing with the Finnish team and have participated in the -sulkavan rowing competition many times. I am a Helsinki city guy, born and bred.

Vivian: I live in Kaarina, Finland and I will start school this year. I’m going into the first grade, not the third or the fifth, but the first!

How did you become an Asahi practitioner?

Mauri: When I got older, I started exercising. Through the Helsinki Heart Rehab program a trainer started coming to my house. Asahi was part of that trainer’s program.

Vivian: My mom said I had to start doing this.

What other hobbies do you have?

Mauri: I played tennis for 70 years and I still play golf. And I play bridge every week.

Vivian: I dance and swim. I do tricks in the water, but not Asahi.

What is it about Asahi that keeps you practicing?

Mauri: It feels good. If I want to stay in any kind of shape at this age, I’ve got to do something!

Vivian: I like the relaxing movements. Even though I don’t suffer from stress.

What benefits have you noticed from Asahi?

Mauri: I haven’t really noticed any specific benefits, but if I hadn’t done anything, my life and state of health would probably be completely different.

Vivian: I haven’t noticed anything. I just do it. (At this point Vivian’s mother added that practicing Asahi has helped Vivian move from the “yellow,” or overly agitated zone back into the “green,” or productive work zone.)

What is your favorite Asahi move?

Mauri: That’s hard to say. I like them all. I do all the ones I am able to do.

Vivian: I like the breast stroke movement! (Series I, module 4, movement 1)

What exercise seems the hardest?

Mauri: If it seems like a movement is too difficult, I don’t do it. I have to take my health into consideration. At this age I’m not going to do a handstand anymore!

Vivian: The breast stroke movement was the hardest, because I couldn’t figure out how to do it at first.

What things make you happy?

Mauri: Playing bridge with my son. We play regularly twice a week and I won the Finnish championship in the senior league once. Whenever I have a good day at bridge, the good feeling lasts for a long time.

Vivian: Birthdays! And “Asahi-wasabi” (her nickname for Asahi.) And climbing…

What is the secret to leading a long and healthy life, in your opinion?

Mauri: I don’t think that diet is the secret. I just eat regular food. I believe that sports, exercise, and having a happy marriage and nice children are important factors. Those provide all the content I need for a happy life.

Vivian: Blueberries and vegetables!

What advice would you give to those people who don’t exercise?

Mauri: It’s hard to give people advice about exercising because it is each person’s own decision. I have really wondered about that attitude for years, though. When I look at people these days, all they do is fiddle with their cell phones. That seems to be life’s most important thing these days. Not exercising or sports.

Vivian: I would say: get those feet moving, get those arms moving, get that head moving! Everything moving – YAY!

Text: Ilpo Jalamo (translation: Margaret Vainio)

Categories: : Asahi keeps you young