A healthy new year starts with Finnish health tips we practice all year round
New Year, New You is a familiar mantra all over the world. But in Finland, healthy resolutions aren’t forgotten by the middle of January. In fact, they’re part of life all year round. Whether it’s drinking vitamin-rich blueberry juice, taking time to unwind in a hot sauna or swimming outdoors all year round, Finland’s healthy habits make it the ideal place to look to for inspiration when trying to stick to those hard–to–keep resolutions.
Cold water swimming
Taking a dip year-round is hugely popular in Finland, regardless of the weather. Whether it’s a long swim in Helsinki’s spectacular Allas Sea Pool in summer or a quick dunk in an ice hole in Rovaniemi during winter. While it might take a while to warm up afterwards, the feeling of calm and the sense of achievement mean you’ll soon be desperate to get back in the water. Cold water swimming can be addictive, as well as promoting health benefits.
Recent research from Cambridge University in the UK has suggested that swimming in cold water may even protect against dementia. Scientists found that a ‘cold shock’ protein was present in the blood of regular cold water swimmers, helping slow the onset of the degenerative disease. And what’s more, other researchers have found it can ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
For inspiration, be sure to check Wild Swimming Finland on Instagram. You’ll find amazing photos and great tips on where to go. You’ll be packing your swimming kit and booking a flight before you know it.
Chilling out in the sauna
Sauna is an essential part of the Finnish way of life, made all the better if you’ve got some snow or an ice hole to cool off in between sessions in the heat. As well as being proven to improve circulation, sauna is also known to make you feel more relaxed. As your heart rate goes up thanks to the high temperature, your blood vessels dilate and a sense of calm descends.
Taking time to hit the sauna isn’t just something Finns do after a workout or as part of a healthy regimen for the New Year. It’s a year-round, everyday activity. And the best saunas are often found in spectacular locations.
Rated as Finland’s best smoke sauna, Rokua Geopark’s Tähtisavu is heated traditionally, using smoke from the fire to fill and warm the room before it’s ventilated. Floating saunas are a great way to see spectacular Finnish landscapes and get a hit of heat. The one in Vaasa’s inner harbor is a must for all sauna enthusiasts. But, if you’re not able to travel for a while, you can warm up (pun intended) while you’re waiting to head to Finland at your nearest local sauna. The effect might not be so picturesque, but it’s just as healthy.
Drinking blueberry juice
Avoiding junk food and cutting out alcohol are classic New Year’s resolutions that often go alongside plans to eat and drink more healthily. And getting hold of some delicious blueberry juice is a great way to kick start new habits. This Finnish staple is made from the wild blueberries, sometimes called bilberries, that grow all over the country’s forests. Between 150 and 200 million kilos of blueberries are harvested each year in Finland.
Wild blueberries are packed full of antioxidants - much more so than farmed fruit and, as such, provide the perfect basis for a healthy drink.
Finnair has been serving blueberry juice as its signature drink since 2014 and our take on this classic beverage can now be bought in 300 K–Group grocery stores across Finland. If you don’t live in Finland, you can still get all the benefits by finding a local version. Just remember to book a trip later in the year to sample some on board before picking up a few bottles as a souvenir.
Aiming to start a new fitness regime in 2021? Practicing yoga at home could be a great introduction. Finnish yoga subscription service Yogaia offers regular live online classes, as well as numerous YouTube videos to get you more flexible and feeling healthier throughout the year.
And your yoga journey doesn’t need to end when you board a Finnair flight. Yogaia’s Stretch and Unwind videos are available on the in–flight entertainment system on all our Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft, with special breathing techniques and poses designed to help you feel at your best even while sitting at 39,000 feet. The perfect way to get you in shape before a vacation exploring all the healthy options Finland has to offer.