Are Scandinavians fit?
Surrounded by some unhealthier neighbours such as English to the west and Germany to the south, the Nordics host a people dominant in sports such as weightlifting and mma.
A mere 11.8 per cent of Swedes are obese, with nations such as Finland also holding a respectable 15 per cent (the UK is the second fattest country at a depressing 24.7 per cent).
Norway is one country with a particularly strong fitness culture, with Nordic Walking – basically walking with walking poles everywhere – being particularly popular, despite being invented by a Finn known as Mauri Repo. Indeed it is telling that one of the most popular blogs in Norway is a fitness blog, the simply-named fitnessbloggen.no.
Puzzingly Iceland sometimes tops the list of obese nations in Europe despite being home to a number of strongmen and athletes. This could be because physically larger people are classified as ‘obese’ even if they have a low percentage of body fat and a higher muscle content, as data that measures obesity and overweight people is not able to distinguish between those who are fat and those that are physically larger but muscular.
When Googling the terms ‘Iceland fitness’ I sadly did not get advice on improving my descent on chin-ups however I did get links to these videos:
Clearly while much of the imagery to do with fitness in the Nordics is of a sexualised nature nonetheless this should not overshadow the fact that the more liberal working hours and emphasise on health and fitness has resulted in a region home to many sportsmen and women and world-class athletes.
For more information on the fitness culture of Iceland take a look at this Nordic Intelligence piece.