A few days ago, I talked about the differences between Swedish and American views on food. If you missed it, a link to the post is here:
Now, let’s get to the differences in exercise!
The first thing that struck me as different when I moved to Sweden was on the drive to Borlange from the airport in Stockholm. I was tired.. correction, I was beyond tired. I had been traveling for over 24 hours and I hadn’t seen my then fiance for 3 months and to top it all off I was in a foreign country. All I could think about was 2 things: “oh my gosh, there are no cities.. All I see are endless trees.. What did I get myself into?” Haha and second.. “wow, these people are so weird. Why are so many of them outside biking??” I can’t even begin to describe what was going through my head during this time but those are the 2 things that I distinctly remember! I thought it was so odd that so many people were outside biking and walking and, I am not talking about on a biking or running trail. I am talking about on normal city sidewalks and roads which brings me to my first difference.
*Swedish people bike and walk EVERYWHERE!! They would bike or walk to work in the freezing cold! Seriously, I did not have to exercise at all when I lived in Sweden if I didn’t want to simply because I was getting enough exercise from walking. Not only did they walk short distances to run errands but they walked long distances too.
*Dog owners walk their dogs 3 times a day at the minimum no matter what the weather. Swedes who have dogs come home on their lunch break to walk their dog. However, people who live in the city often don’t have backyards but still those dogs must be really happy!
*During the spring and summer, you see every one outside doing something! If it is a nice day in Sweden then they think you’re a complete idiot if you are sitting inside on your ass watching tv or on the internet, haha! They are always outside gardening, working on the house, playing with the children, or just doing something when the weather allows.
*So, what do they do in the winter then, you ask? Well, they ice skate on the lakes and go skiing, of course! I am not a fan of winter and moving up North to Sweden was difficult to say the least but they remain active in the winter as well. There was a small ski resort a few kilometres from our apartment that I have several hilarious stories about, more on that later! We ice skated on the lake outside Hans’ parents house along with going skiing. I was so scared the first few times that I tried this because I was afraid of falling in but I got used to the idea and ended up having a blast! Funny story… when I told my mom I was going ice skating on the lake, the first thing she told me was “Now, Haleigh.. make sure that the lake is frozen SOLID before you do that!!” Haha, definitely the statement of some one from the South.
*Not many Swedes go to the gym 5 to 6 days a week simply because they don’t have to. They live an active lifestyle so why be bored at the gym? I am not saying that every one in Sweden is like this just from what I noticed. However, a lot of them strength train 1 to 2 days a week.
Everything just goes back to moderation. They never eat too little or too much and it is the same for exercise. They are active by nature and don’t have to think about going for a run tomorrow, because they will go on a walk to pick mushrooms in the forest instead.
Hans trying to teach me how to ski at Romme Alpin:
Just for laughs… I look so awkward on skiis, even the tiny kids were 100 times better than me!