- At Elleni, sports is all about feeling good. “Luckily, nowadays people gravitate towards sports they genuinely enjoy and find are a good fit for them, instead of doing sports with the main goal of losing weight,” says Johanna Harikkala-Nurmi, the entrepreneur who owns Elleni.
As the doors of Liikunta ja hyvinvointi Oy Elleni’s gym open at 6 p.m., the darkness of November is cast aside. The theme of the evening is sparkles and glitter in true Christmas party fashion, and the gym is starting to fill up with women in their dazzling glitter dresses joining the festivities.
Christmas parties are an annual tradition at Elleni, only the theme changes every year. At Elleni, people have danced in ‘50s-themed dresses, in the spirit of Charleston as well as in neon colours. Following the dress code is not mandatory, but most of the participants are more than glad to partake in the dress-up merriment.
“It’s the time when we grown-ups get to have some fun and let loose. Over the years, it’s moved more in the direction of leaving it all out there instead of holding anything back,” says Johanna Harikkala-Nurmi, the entrepreneur who owns Elleni, with a laugh.
“We always plan the theme together and dance to all the best songs, laugh, have a little snack on the side and simply have fun. We always have such a great time together.”
The fun comes not only from the good music that makes you want to move your body but also from the community of the group. Johanna thinks that the social aspect is an essential part of the enjoyable sports experience at Elleni.
“Naturally, we always give it our all when we move and dance, and that’s really fun in itself, but exchanging a couple of words, just chatting away and laughing together are all part of it just the same. Even if you aren’t the social type, you can always come in for a session at Elleni. You’re free to come as you are,” says Johanna.
The entrepreneur herself has absolutely no difficulty in finding her smile, despite the years of the pandemic still weighing on her shoulders. People have been hesitant to return to their hobbies and attend events, but Johanna believes that things are starting to slowly go back to normal.
And even if there are fewer people attending the sessions, that won’t keep her down.
“I think that it’s all about really liking what you do. This is my passion. I like attending various training courses to get inspired and be able to provide new activities for my customers. Attending training courses is almost like a hobby to me,” says Johanna with a laugh.
She is happy about the fact that the participants get a lot of enjoyment out of movement at Elleni. It looks like people are once again starting to do physical activities also for reasons other than just weight loss.
“I don’t believe that forcing things and counting calories are the main motivators of people as much as they used to be. Now, it’s more about enjoying doing things together with other people. And that’s just the way it’s supposed to be,” says Johanna with a smile.