Lifestyle diseases are becoming more common in westernising societies as the standard of living rises. LAB University of Applied Sciences and Edufication, the online education business unit of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk, are working to spread awareness in Asia of the importance of physical activity in preventing heart disease.

Heart diseases are a common cause of death in Finland and other Western countries. A major underlying factor for heart disease is a high standard of living, resulting in a decline in people’s daily physical activity. This, in turn, increases the risk of several lifestyle diseases.

In Finland, these risks are well known, and the importance of exercise in the prevention of disease is acknowledged. Anu Kaksonen, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy, and Minna Mukka, Senior Lecturer in Health Care, from LAB University of Applied Sciences, have compiled this information into a compact package in the form of a micro course.

The micro course takes approximately 10 hours and can be completed independently online, at one’s own pace. Micro courses are not graded, and no credits or diplomas are awarded for them.

Everyday exercise is important

The course is aimed at workers and students in the field of health care in Asia. The course is straightforward, which means that anyone with an interest in the topic can participate. The course does not have any prior requirements.

The course begins with introducing the concept of functional capacity and its international classification. After this, the course focuses on everyday activity and its importance in the prevention of heart disease. Finally, the course provides practical tips on what kind of physical exercise one can add to their everyday life and how to do this.

“The course provides learners with practical tips on how to be more active in your everyday life. Even a small amount of activity is beneficial,” says Anu Kaksonen.

“Research indicates that even small acts bring positive health effects. Even just getting out of the chair and walking for a while is beneficial for your health,” says Minna Mukka.

Masterclass introduces the topic

A masterclass on the topic of the course will be held online on 21 November 2023. The event is open for everyone and will be held in English. To participate, sign up in advance at

The masterclass will feature experts in heart health and physical activity.

Marjo-Riitta Anttila, PhD in Health Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences will talk about smart devices and how they help in maintaining heart health.

Arto Pesola, PhD in exercise physiology, from Xamk’s Active Life Lab will talk about the health risks of prolonged sitting.

Sara Suikkanen, doctor of health sciences, physiotherapist and researcher at LAB University of Applied Sciences will focus on the importance of physical activity for older adults.

Fruitful cooperation

The course and masterclass will kick off the cooperation between LAB University of Applied Sciences and Edufication.

“LAB is a university of applied sciences founded on RDI activity and closely connected with the world of work. We want to cooperate and participate in projects like this one, driving education forward internationally,” says Eveliina Kivinen, Degree Manager in the field of wellbeing at LAB University of Applied Sciences.

The authors of the course, Minna Mukka and Anu Kaksonen, are satisfied with the cooperation.

“Universities of applied sciences stand to benefit from joining forces and using their expertise to try something new every once in a while. That is what really fascinates us in this cooperation.”

“Working with LAB has been very fruitful. It has been wonderful to realise how well Edufication’s production model adapts to different environments and activities. I look forward to our joint masterclass, the publication of the micro course, and whatever else we may still be able to produce by working together on this topic,” says Pekka Pulkkinen, Manager of Edufication.


Additional information:

Pekka Pulkkinen

puh. +358 40 630 0341



LAB University of Applied Sciences:

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences:


MASTERCLASS: Physical activity and heart diseases prevention


Marjo Riitta Anttila: Presentation Theme: An outsider or an enthusiastic user? – Smart devices to support the maintenance of heart health

Speaker Introduction: Dr. Marjo-Riitta Anttila is a lecturer in the field of rehabilitation. Her research concerns the process of digital cardiac rehabilitation and the importance of various digital solutions in maintaining heart health.

Summary: In our everyday life, we use several applications and services to monitor our physical activity and wellbeing. Similarly, technology is being used more and more in cardiac rehabilitation. Smart devices and other technology applications bring new possibilities to maintain the physical activity and health of cardiac rehabilitees. Four e-usage group profiles were identified in the study. These were the following: feeling like an outsider, being uninterested, reflecting on the benefits, and enthusiastic use. The rehabilitees especially wished for easy-to-use and well-functioning technology that is personalised and beneficial for their heart health.


Arto Pesola: Presentation Theme: Sitting too much and health: standing up is good for your health

Speaker Introduction: Dr. Arto Pesola is a director of the Active Life Lab in Xamk. His research focuses on the physiology of sedentary behaviour, physical activity and sedentary behaviour measurement, and behavioural physical activity interventions in children and adults. Dr Pesola has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications with >4300 citations. He has developed and applied novel EMG technology in sedentary behaviour research to detect associations between lack of muscle activity and cardio-metabolic health outcomes. In 2014-2015, Dr Pesola worked as an expert member in a working group for Finnish sedentary behaviour recommendations invited by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.


Summary: Sedentary behaviour–sitting too much–has been recognised as a significant public health threat. In his talk, Dr Pesola will summarise recent WHO public health recommendations that, for the first time, include a recommendation to reduce daily sitting time and will explain the muscle-level mechanisms and potential effective countermeasures for prolonged sitting.


Sara Suikkanen: Presentation Theme: Physical activity in older adults.

Speaker Introduction: Dr. Sara Suikkanen is a researcher and physiotherapist. Her areas of expertise include functional capacity and its measurements, physical activity, gerontological rehabilitation, home rehabilitation, and the utilisation and cost-effectiveness of social and healthcare services.


Summary: As we are facing a growing population of older adults and an increased need for their care, it is important to find effective ways to help older adults maintain their functional capacity. Physical activity can be one key solution to promote functional ability among older adults. However, the physical activity recommendations are seldom achieved by older adults. To achieve these objectives, finding successful ways to promote physical activity and engaging older adults to exercise regularly is important.