Active Ageing the Finnish Way at Avanti Health Centre Hobsons Bay

Last Friday we gathered at the Avanti Health Centre to celebrate two Finnish companies whose innovations are changing the Active Ageing Space

HUR has been making specialist strength and balance training products for over 35 years in the west coast of Finland, in Kokkola, whilst Lappset’s production of playground equipment started in the 1970s in the north of Finland, in Rovaniemi.

Both companies have been in the Australian market for over ten years; HUR products marketed under HUR Australia, and Lappset as part of Lark Industries. Both companies have a strong footprint in the Australian Active Ageing area, also collaborating with research institutes, and receiving significant recognitions.

HUR equipment were selected for the “Sunbeam” project that revolutionised exercise protocols for falls prevention to include both strength and balance exercises to maximise the prevention of falls. This evidence based protocol was considered as a best-practice model, and promoted by the Australian Government.

In a similar manner, the “Enjoy” project providing exercise protocols using Lappset’s Seniors’ Exercise equipment, is part of the United Nation’s decade of Healthy Ageing.

The City of Hobsons Bay has been the home for all Finns in Melbourne, after the Finnish Hall was renovated within the old Red Robin Hosiery factory in the early 1970s, and officially opened by the then Ambassador for Finland, Tuure Mentula, in September 1974.

With the Finnish Hall located across the road from the council chambers, the connection of Finns to Hobsons Bay has been strong, now strengthened by these innovative companies that provide excellence in active ageing. 

It was a pleasure to welcome the Ambassador of Finland, His Excellency Arto Haapea to join in the day of celebration.

Arto Haapea

The CEO of Avanti Health, Darryl Grundy, also joined in celebrating the success of Avanti’s concept for the 50+ community.

We sadly could not visit the Don Mc Lean seniors’ exercise park due to current restricted access, but were happy that the city’s Sport and Recreation officer, Jasmin Harrison, together with the Community Champions who volunteer weekly onsite to educate everyone on how to use the equipment safely.

I also had an opportunity to give a talk on the importance of exercise for older adults, especially towards muscle and bone health. The message on the importance of strength and balance exercises can not be told too often, as the knowledge is still not spread enough. It was wonderful to have a full house of people keen to hear more about the appropriate exercise prescription. 

Innovation and collaboration play an important role when discussing ageing well. As a Finnish company, we are proud to see that our innovations make a difference in the global health space. The know-how we provide in the senior exercise space is there to allow everyone to live a long and happy life!

We are thankful that Avanti Health Centre welcomed us to host the event at their premises, allowing for trying out HUR equipment, but also providing the space for a lecture. With the vision of the CEO Darryl Grundy, Avanti Health with their four sites around Australia, have taken the 50+ exercise space to a new level.

We want to thank every person how joined in, and celebrate everyone for changing their lives with active ageing the Finnish Way,

Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman
Physiotherapist, Accredited Exercise Physiologist (ESSAM), PhD (Biomechanics)
Research Lead, Area Account Manager (Vic, Tas, SA)