4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years

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4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years

Growing older can be quite a challenging experience for many. Yet, in Scandinavia, there’s a sense that it’s a more pleasant, enriching, and graceful process. Indeed, one report found that Norway is the best place to grow old. Learn about the 4 lifestyle choices of aging Scandinavians you should adopt in your later years.

Why Norway is the best part to grow old is certainly in part due to robust social support systems and a culture that respects its aging citizens.

While you may not find it practical to move to Scandinavia, you can still share some of the benefits of its aging populations. There are lifestyle choices that are deeply embedded into the culture that help ensure people age with comfort and holistic wellness. Adopting these meaningfully can empower you to thrive in your later years and perhaps help you live longer.

Let’s explore a handful of these lifestyle choices of aging Scandinavians. What benefits do these practices offer and how can you practically adopt them?

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years
Fitness is a significant part of Nordic culture. Photo: John Moeses Bauan/Unsplash

Commitment to Fitness

Fitness is a significant part of Nordic culture, including for aging populations. In fact, in Sweden, only 10% of people report not doing some form of regular exercise. It’s not necessarily about taking up sport, either. Many people incorporate exercise into their everyday lives with cycling to stores or going on regular walks.

Adopting this lifestyle choice can help keep you mentally and physically fit as you age. It’s worth considering fitness routines that are safe and impactful for older adults. This should include a range of aerobic exercises to gently raise your heart rate, such as pilates or power walking. It’s also wise to incorporate bone-strengthening and flexibility routines to counter range-of-motion challenges.

If you find it difficult to go to a sports facility for exercise, perhaps consider converting your garage into a home gym with Scandinavian influences. Make a solid floor plan so you divide your space between your exercise equipment and other items, such as your car. Add insulation to keep out the cold in the winter. Take the time to personalize it to make your gym a place you want to exercise. This might include posters of Scandinavian landscapes for inspiration or furniture made from simple sustainable wood.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years
One of the Scandinavian lifestyle choices that you may find helpful to aim for is a sense of balance. Photo: Susanne Walstrom/Imagebank.sweden.se

A Sense of Balance

For prior generations, aging was often considered a time to slow down. This isn’t always the case today, though. You may be among the people who find they’re having to work to some extent rather than fully retire. You might also have family and personal responsibilities. This can make your lifestyle quite full and perhaps even stressful.

One of the Scandinavian lifestyle choices that you may find helpful to aim for is a sense of balance. It has long been one of the core components that people should avoid placing too great an emphasis on any single aspect of their life. Adopting this perspective helps to prevent you from experiencing the physical and mental symptoms of burnout.

How can you maintain this balance? Well, it tends to come down to setting good boundaries for yourself and others. This might be committing to having hard limits on how much time you spend on certain activities, particularly working. It’s also about keeping emotional boundaries in which you minimize aspects that may have a toxic effect on other components of your life.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years, article cintinues below image.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years
Many of the grains and vegetables in the Nordic diet fall under the term “superfoods,” due to their high nutritional density.

Solid Nutrition

Food is considered to be an integral part of what helps people in Scandinavian countries live longer and healthier lives. Indeed, a recent study found that the Nordic Prudent Diet Pattern (NPDP) can help minimize cognitive decline in later years. Adopting these types of foods into your own daily life can help you be more physically and mentally active as you age.

So, what should you prioritize when starting the Nordic diet? Non-root vegetables tend to be a priority here, such as cabbage and broccoli. Oily fish also plays a primary role in Scandinavian cooking. Rather than using olive oil in your dishes, you should consider canola oil as a substitute, as it’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 fats. NPDP meals also often include whole grains and pasta.

Many of the grains and vegetables in the Nordic diet fall under the term “superfoods,” due to their high nutritional density. However, you can boost the positive impact by growing superfood herbs and spices to use in your cooking. In many cases, you don’t need a garden, either. You can cultivate them on a windowsill box or in flowerpots. Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6 and has antibacterial properties. Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and is considered to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years
Unspoiled natural landscapes.

A Green and Positive Environment

It should come as no surprise that when many people think about Scandinavia, they conjure images of unspoiled natural landscapes. The Baltic sea, vast forests, mountain peaks, and rich grasslands. These aspects of Nordic life also contribute to the well-being of its aging populations.

Firstly, there are the mental health benefits of being surrounded by nature. Having easy access to these features tends to support a calmer way of life and provides resources to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Scandinavia’s commitment to sustainability also directly impacts health. For instance, Sweden has above-average air and water quality. This can reduce the potential for pollution-related illnesses.

Adopting this into your lifestyle may be challenging if you live in a city. However, it can give you some clues about what to incorporate into your regular routine. Identify local green spaces, such as parks and forests, and spend a few hours each week in them. Invest in home water and air purification devices. Perhaps consider occasional vacations to Scandinavian countries.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years – Conclusion

The lifestyle of aging Scandinavians can be a good model on which to build healthier and happier later years. There are obvious tangible components, like diet and exercise, and some which are more emotional in nature. Even if you can’t adopt these exact measures, they can give you a sense of the priorities that contribute to greater well-being. It’s about caring for yourself, finding a calmer way of life, and seeking solace in the beauty of the natural world.

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years
Ainsley Lawrence

4 Lifestyle Choices of Aging Scandinavians You Should Adopt in Your Later Years, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a regular contributor to Daily Scandinavian. She is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. Ainsley is interested in better living. through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.

Feature image (on top): © Magda Ehlers/Pixels

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