10 Good Scandinavian Habits That Keep Them Healthy and Attractive
Scandinavians are famous for their recipes for happiness — lagom and hygge. Though these philosophies are quite popular even outside of Northern Europe, in reality, for a good life you only need a little bit more than a cup of hot tea and a fireplace. Despite the harsh climate, Scandinavians have a fairly long life expectancy and are mostly in good health.
Bright Side decided to find out about the good lifestyle habits that Scandinavians practice to help them be healthy and happy.
Skiing instead of going to the gym
Even though most Norwegians live in cities now, being in nature is still a very important part of the local culture. Norwegians believe that it’s necessary to spend a lot of time outside and they even have a special word for it — friluftsliv. Physical activity, for them, is not just a way to burn calories but also a way to experience some pleasure. This is why instead of going to the gym, they go skiing, ice skating, for a swim in a lake, or for a walk in the forest. Find something you like (walking, dancing, yoga, football, or mountain climbing) and make it a part of your schedule. Besides, Scandinavians move a lot in their everyday lives: they walk, ride bikes to work, and clean up the snow near their houses.
Butter is better than oil.
Scandinavians are sure that good butter is far better than oil or margarine. They add a small piece of butter to a lot of meals, be it soup, meat, or vegetables. This makes the food more nuanced and more nutritious. By the way, Scandinavian studies have proven that eating a lot of milk fat decreases the risk of obesity.
“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!”
It might seem that living in Norway or Sweden is a challenge: in winter, most of the territory is covered in snow and ice. The cold climate may not only bring discomfort but quite the opposite. Norwegians even have a proverb — “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!” which means that even in rainy or snowy weather you will see people riding bikes.
Low temperatures speed up the metabolism, improve the quality of sleep, and regulate the appetite. Of course, the cold alone can’t make the body super-healthy, so it’s important to combine several good habits. Swedish model Karin Agstam, for example, starts her day by showering in ice-cold water.
Sweets for kids — only on Saturdays
In Swedish kindergartens, they don’t use sugar to cook meals. Besides, children don’t usually eat sweets before the age of 2-3. But even when kids grow up, they only get sweets on holidays and Saturdays (which in Sweden are the days when people eat candy). Some of the most popular sweets for Scandinavians are salty licorice sweets. They don’t contain much sugar and they are much better than the chocolate bars we often eat.
Lunches are bigger than dinners.
In Sweden and Norway, lunchtime is called middag. This is the time when people eat the most food during the day. They don’t have lunch midday like we do, but at about 4 pm. A typical lunch is potatoes, meat, fish — foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates. And for dinner, people in Scandinavian countries prefer lighter meals, like those they eat for breakfast: fish sandwiches, vegetables or cheese, yogurt, muesli. So, they don’t go to bed full and the stomach doesn’t have to digest heavy foods during the night.
Using the sauna is the best beauty procedure.
After long walks in the cold, of course, the first thing you want to do is to get warm. Scandinavians really love saunas. For them, it’s part of their culture, and inviting someone to the sauna means showing respect for them. This is probably another secret that explains why Scandinavians are so healthy. Also, visiting the sauna is always on the list of beauty procedures for Scandinavian women — this is how their skin remains so shiny and clean.
You don’t need a lot of products to keep the skin beautiful.
Strong winter winds are a big challenge for the soft skin of the face. This is why the most important part of skincare in Scandinavia is moisturizing. For example, a beauty product expert says that during the winter, she only uses a cleansing oil for the face that helps to keep the skin moisturized. Unlike, the Asian beauty standards, where there are multi-step skincare systems, Scandinavian women prefer the most basic products. You are not very likely to see a woman that uses more than 3 facial beauty products a day.
The Scandinavian diet is the secret to a fit body.
Most Scandinavians prefer cooking at home, and they rarely go to restaurants. Their everyday diets, along with their active lifestyle, allow them to keep their body healthy and looking good. People in Scandinavian countries regularly eat red fish that are rich in vitamin D and omega-3, a lot of vegetables, and berries. And they don’t eat much red meat.
Coffee breaks are sacred.
The Swedish people have the word fika, which can be translated as “a break for coffee and a cookie” but in reality, it means more than that. This is the time when you are distracted from your routine (your work, your devices) and you drink coffee with your friends. Fika is not just a coffee break, it’s a way to slow down time and think about the good stuff. While other countries have coffee breaks that are just as fast as their life itself, where people grab their paper cups to go and keep running, in Sweden coffee breaks are sacred. They are sure that they should have fika every day because it’s a way for the brain to reload and rest from stress.
Whole wheat bread instead of white bread
In the supermarkets of Northern Europe, it might be really hard to find white bread. In Scandinavian countries, people have been eating whole wheat bread for many years: in the 18th-19th centuries bread was the main food for peasant families, and barley, oats, and rye were really popular. White bread appeared much later. It is sold in stores today, but Scandinavian people love the whole wheat bread that is definitely better for their health.
Of course, we can’t say that every person in Denmark, Sweden, or Norway follows these rules with no exceptions. Of course, there are Swedes that don’t like coffee or Norwegians that prefer pizza instead of dinner at home.
Would you like to adopt some of these good Scandinavian habits or do you have your own habits to share?