Health resource of national physical education and sport system: northern dimension

PhD, Associate Professor V.V. Sharok1
PhD, Associate Professor E.G. Vakhnina1
PhD, Associate Professor Y.A. Yakovleva1
1St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: Arctic region, health, healthy lifestyle, physical education, physical education and sport service center.

Background. Life in the Arctic zone is rather challenging for health due to the harsh climatic and geographical conditions – as recognized by many experts, particularly in physiology and medicine. The area-specific health stressors include the extreme temperatures, shortage of oxygen and daylight, frequent magnetic storms, high-intensity solar radiation (short of ultraviolet rays), heavy winds, air pressure drops, high humidity rates etc. [2, 5, 7]. Hard work under pressure of these stressors is known to rapidly exhaust the bodily reserves and adaptation mechanisms and increase the disease risks. The local residents are therefore recommended giving a special priority to healthy lifestyle including active physical education and sport practices to mitigate the effects of the above extreme health stressors and prevent the de-adaptation process related diseases [1, 4].

Objective of the study was to analyze the demand for modern physical education and sport service facilities in the Arctic communities by a questionnaire survey.

Methods and structure of the study. We run a questionnaire survey for the purposes of the study to find the potential motivators and de-motivators for the human resource in Arctic zone including: service terms; expected/ actual incomes; service facilities with their importance rates; concerns over the area-specific hardships including the climatic conditions; health service related concerns; implicit perceptions of how one may successfully adapt to the Arctic living conditions; de-motivators for the would-be workers; 12 personality traits critical for successful adaptation to the Arctic conditions; implicit perceptions of the job conditions in Arctic zone; demographic factors etc.

The article considers only the priority service infrastructure components of influence on the people’s decisions to work in the Arctic zone. Sampled for the questioning survey were the Arctic zone residents (n=72, including 39 females and 33 males) of different specialties aged 44.4 years on average and grouped by their willingness to work in the Arctic zone. The Yes Group included 28 people saying ‘yes’ to such work and 19 people saying ‘rather so than not’; and No Group was composed of 34 people including 15 saying ‘rather not’ and 19 saying ‘certainly not’. Left ungrouped were 10 people uncertain on the issue.

In addition, we surveyed university students (n=220 including 68 females and 152 males aged 19.68 years on average) to profile their attitudes to potential jobs in the Arctic zone and grouped them into the Yes Student Group (n=188) enthusiastic about potential jobs in the Arctic zone, and No Student Group (n=32) uninterested in such jobs. On the whole, therefore, we surveyed 282 people.

Results and discussion. As reported by the respondents, they give a special priority to physical education and sport service centers, airports and/or railway connections (see Table 1 hereunder) in their employment decision making. It may be said with confidence that these services play the key role in their satisfaction with the living conditions in the Arctic zone, i.e. comprise the core motivators for the service; albeit some other services were found also important for the respondents, with the only exclusion for entertainment parks (still ranked important by about one of three respondents).

Table 1. Service infrastructure components ranked by importance, %

 

Yes Student Group

No Student Group

Yes Group

No Group

χ2

Fitness centers

74.47

84.38

92.86

97.06

13.12**

Hypermarkets

51.06

84.38

50.00

76.47

18.32***

Cafeteria, restaurants

35.64

78.13

78.57

85.29

51.67***

Parks

43.09

78.13

89.29

85.29

43.61***

Entertainment parks

6.38

21.88

39.29

38.24

38.94***

Cinema, theatres

53.72

87.50

85.71

88.24

30.93***

Museums, exhibitions

22.87

78.13

75.00

88.24

87.61***

Airport/ railway

75.00

87.50

100.00

94.12

15.76**

Note: * p ≤ 0.05; ** p ≤ 0.01; *** p ≤ 0.001

As demonstrated by the above Table, the students with positive attitudes to a potential job in the Arctic zone are less sensitive to the availability of service infrastructure than the other groups – albeit still rate a fitness center, airport and/or railway among the most motivators for the employment decision.

Conclusion. The survey data and analyses of the role of service infrastructure important for health and physical education and sportss agenda of the would-be employees in the Arctic zone give the grounds for the following conclusions. Availability of physical education and sport service centers, airports and/or railway connections followed by parks, museums, exhibitions, cinema/ theatre was found to play a special role in the employment expectations of the sample. It should be noted that the students reporting positive attitudes to employment in the Arctic zone were less sensitive to the availability of critical service infrastructure than the other groups. It is not improbable that they tend to underestimate the hardships of the life and work in the Arctic zone, but the actual health situation and job-related stressors may appear too hard for them.

The study was supported by a grant financing from the Russian Research Fund under Project #17-78-20145 at Saint Petersburg Mining University

References

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Corresponding author: curgan57@mail.ru

Abstract

Life in the Arctic zone is rather challenging for health due to the harsh climatic and geographical conditions – as recognized by many experts, particularly in physiology and medicine. Hard work in these areas is known to rapidly exhaust the bodily reserves and adaptation mechanisms and, hence, increase the disease risks. Presently the national government pursues the policies to prioritize the resource mobilizing innovations with contributions from the environmental protection and resource conservation technologies to improve the mineral resource processing efficiency and high-tech production. These policies need to be implemented by a high-quality and enthusiastic human resource prepared to serve in the most challenging conditions including the Arctic region. The extreme climatic, geographic and other living conditions in the national Arctic region require, however, the enthusiasm being supported by modern service infrastructure with a special priority to the health/ physical education and sport service centers to help attract the most active human resource (including the technical university graduates) to the areas as required by a variety of the formal national policy goals, particularly the competitiveness-encouraging ones. Objective of the study was to analyze the demand for modern physical education and sport service facilities in the Arctic communities by a questioning survey of 282 local residents. The survey made it possible to rank the priority service infrastructure components as follows: physical education and sport service centers, airports and railway connections.