Adapted Physical Activity in Municipalities

Adapted Physical Activity in Municipalities

Finland has about 310 municipalities (2019). Municipalities act as the fundamental, self-governing administrative units of the country. They have the broad responsibility of organizing the basic public services for their residents including facilities for physical activity. Municipalities play a key role in supporting physical activity in Finland. In comparison to the state, municipalities spend much more resources for physical activity and they own the majority of the sport facilities.

Municipalities also produce numerous sport services. Services by the municipalities are even more important for special need groups who have difficulties with participation. These special needs groups usually refer to persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses or elderly people. At the local level, adapted physical activity (APA) is arranged in co-operation by municipalities and their APA instructors, local social, health, disability and pensioner associations and sports clubs.

For more information about the Finnish municipalities, visit

APA in municipalities has history of over 30 years. Municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants usually have an adapted physical activity instructor working in the municipality’s sport department. The job of the adapted physical activity instructor is to help organize, develop, and produce APA services.  In 2019 less than 100 municipalities had an APA instructor. In smaller municipalities the services are organized in different ways in collaboration with other municipalities or through buying services from companies.

 Picture: Lauri Jaakkola, VAU ry.