“I Want That, at Least Once a Year, People Stop to Think about Their Coping Mechanisms”

Success Story with City of Helsinki Sports Department

The executive team of City of Helsinki Sports Department participated in the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment three times already with more to come. The purpose was to awaken people to think about their everyday habits.

“During my long and varied career, I have been more or less tired at times. Since I heard of the things that could be achieved with Lifestyle Assessment, I wanted to take it. It is great, that well-being can be studied by measuring,” said Anssi Rauramo, the Manager of the Sports Department of the city of Helsinki. He has worked for 18 years as a Sports Manager and previously as a Member of Parliament and basketball player, among other professions.

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Lifestyle Assessments became a concrete requirement in the Sports Department when two employees had to take sick leave due to exhaustion within a short period of time. The well-being of employees and preventive actions against such exhaustion were determined as necessities for everyone, especial a department focused on fitness.

“I want that, at least once a year, people stop to think about their coping mechanisms. As a manager, I want to take care of others,” Rauramo added.

In Rauramo’s opinion, Firstbeat’s measurement is a simple and affordable method to provide people information about themselves. Heart rate information is a hard fact. For instance, the significance of recovery during sleep has emerged as an important factor in the Sport Department’s measurements.

“As a former athlete, for a long time one of my favorite topics has been the connection between rest and stress. The Lifestyle Assessment gives answers to that very question. It is an excellent tool to help improving body’s resources,” Rauramo said.

Feel free to exercise during the day

Working in the administration of the department includes a lot of sitting and meetings. Many of the employees have good activity levels but, for instance, resource pressures put them under stress.

According to the Lifestyle Assessment results, the executive team is doing well but there could be more moments of recovery during workdays. Rauramo saw short breaks and stretching at the gym next door as recommended actions to increase recovery.

The Wellness Specialist Jaakko Kotisaari from Firstbeat said the executive team of the Sports Department achieved their goals between the first and the second measurements. All just by making small personal changes, which resulted in people feeling better.

“The personnel appreciated the opportunity to have the Assessment and feel they are genuinely taken care of. This brought a special meaning to the measurement. Personal test results are taken seriously,” Rauramo said.

The executive team received group and individual written and face-to-face feedback. Many appreciated the opportunity to discuss their personal health and well-being with a specialist.

Rauramo also considers Firstbeat’s form of feedback interesting because as a group it was good to have a chance to share their results. As an outcome, improving well-being becomes both a personal and a shared matter.

Feedback led to changes in Sport Manager’s life

Rauramo revealed his enthusiasm for statistics. He has participated in the personal Lifestyle Assessment five times already. The first time he was recommended to lose weight, which was achieved through simple, everyday changes. However, the successive results were alarming and made him turn to an occupational health specialist. Each Assessment participant whose results indicated a need for additional research was given an opportunity to seek additional advice from an occupational health specialist.

“I knew I was stressed, but I didn’t realize the whole day would be the color red [on the Assessment chart]. The purpose of the Assessment was fulfilled as it showed the current situation and guided the steps forward,” said Rauramo.

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The soon-to-be-retired Sports Manager said different phases of his career had both positive and negative effects on his health. However, his time playing basketball was unforgettable.

“During my basketball career I was under a lot of stress but it was mostly positive stress. The feeling and excitement was unique as you leave from the locker room to the court before a final match. I miss that and the locker room humor,” Rauramo reminisced.

Absolutely a positive thing

According to Rauramo, the Lifestyle Assessment has successfully fulfilled its mission as people have stopped to think about their lives. In addition, the measurements have stimulated discussion and brought people closer as they have improved well-being together. Each participant would recommend the Assessment.

The Sports Department is planning their fourth Lifestyle Assessment, which is set to be customized according to the participants’ varying lifestyles. This makes it possible to assess the amount physical activity and how it impacts each of the team members more closely. Different life situations impact how well-being should be taken care of. Repeating the measurement has helped to make suitable choices and understanding personal results as people change with time.

“The measurement has only brought up positive things. If I was back at the starting point considering whether or not to take Lifestyle Assessment, I would not hesitate to say yes. This is absolutely a positive thing,” Rauramo summarized.