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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

15 Reasons Why Living in Norway Is Awesome

15 Reasons Why Living in Norway Is Awesome

Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and if you love skiing, you can do that for 6 months a year. There are many advantages to living in this awesome country, although you should check that you are comfortable with cold winters and icy driving conditions before you decide to move. Here are 15 reasons why living in Norway can be a wonderful adventure.

1. Most people speak English.

If you are an English speaker, you will find that Norwegians love to practice their English as they have all studied it at school. This makes the initial impact much easier. Even the tax return form has an English version.

It is recommended that you learn Norwegian because most people will speak that when they are socializing. This can take up to 3 years and may be a requirement if you want to take a university course. Another great plus is that university education is free as it is state funded.

2. The scenery is beautiful.

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    Whether you are driving or taking a rail trip, the stunning scenery which stretches for miles and miles is breathtaking. You have everything from majestic mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and green hillsides—not to mention the wonderful fjords. The Oslo to Bergen rail trip takes 7 hours but for most of the time, you will be admiring the marvelous scenery.

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    Driving on the national tourist routes will provide you with many memorable moments. Getting off the beaten track is so easy.

    3. You can camp anywhere.

    Norway has a law called “allemannsrett” which gives you the right to put up a tent anywhere you like in Norway. There are some exceptions, such as private property or a national park! Now, if you are into hiking and camping, this makes Norway a paradise. It also makes things cheaper as hostels and hotels can be expensive.

    4.  A family-friendly state.

    Norway is famous for its family-friendly policies. It is a well known fact that fathers can take up to 12 weeks paid leave during the first three years after a new baby’s arrival.

    Growing old in Norway is also very beneficial. If you fulfill certain requirements, elderly citizens over the age of 67 will receive a state pension of $1,000 a month. Workers also enjoy a shorter working week of 37.5 hours and they have longer paid holidays of 25 working days.

    5. Norway’s banks have great online services.

    Once you have your bank account set up, you can do almost everything online. Transferring money to another account or paying bills is really easy. All you need is the account number of the beneficiary and this saves you loads of time.

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    6. Health care is more or less free for everybody.

    Once you are legally resident, you can apply for the free public health service. According to the WHO, Norway’s healthcare is in the top fifteen (ranked at number 11 while the USA is at number 38.)

    There is a fee to be paid for each doctor’s visit (about $21) until you reach the cap for the year which is $1,817. You pay for basic medicines too but they all go towards the annual cap so once you reach that, the service is free for the rest of the year.

    7. Be part of a booming economy.

    Norway has become rich because of its offshore oilfields and gas. Much of this money is saved by the government and used for public welfare which makes living there easier in many ways. It should be no surprise to learn that its national pension fund is worth about $376 bn. Despite a single-track economy, this year’s figures show that industrial and economic growth have exceeded expectations and the outlook is still very bright.

    8. Norway is not overcrowded.

    The population of Norway is 5 million (2013 census). This works out at 14 people per square kilometer which means plenty of space for everybody. Compare that with Macau with 20,500 and Hong Kong with 6,480 per square kilometer to put things into perspective.

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      9. Enjoy pleasant urban surroundings.

      If you live in Oslo, you will notice very few skyscrapers and shopping malls. There is a magnificent opera house and the new Munch Museum will open in 2018. Security was criticized after the famous Munch paintings The Scream and Madonna were stolen. They were later recovered and the robbers left a note saying, “thanks for the poor security.”

      10. Norway is moving towards a multicultural society.

      After the terrible shootings in which 77 people were killed by Anders Breivik, Norway showed its commitment to giving him a fair trial and resolved to make the country a better model for a multicultural society. For example, a Muslim woman called Hadia Tadjuk was appointed Minister of Culture. It is also interesting to note that 11% of Norway’s population was born abroad.

      11. Norway is leading the way in new industries.

      We mentioned above that Norway has a single-track economy and there are over 50,000 engineers employed offshore on its gas and oil platforms. But that does not mean that there are no developments in its other industries such as forestry, mining and fishing. Many paper and pulp factories are changing over to bio-refining. The government is busily promoting Innovation Norway to showcase its progress in modernization.

      12. Norwegians are happier and live well.

      According to the OECD index on the happiness and well-being of various nations, Norwegians come out with a high score. Life expectancy is 81 which is higher than the OECD average. There is less pollution and not surprisingly, almost 100% of Norwegians are satisfied with the quality of their drinking water. When people were asked to express their life satisfaction with a rating from 0 to 10, Norwegians gave themselves a rating of 7.5 which is higher than the 6.6 OECD average.

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        13. Norway has a low crime rate.

        There are only about 4,000 prisoners in Norway. But what is most striking is that there is a very low re-offending crime rate. This is due to Norway’s enlightened approach to how they treat their prisoners by giving then trust and responsibility. They are offered more training, rehabilitation, and skills development than almost anywhere else in the world. They have to work but they are also given free time to enjoy themselves.

        14. Norway has the highest number of electric cars.

        Norway now has 32,000 electric cars which is the highest rate per capita in the whole world. The government has offered incentives such as tax breaks and free parking to these car owners. There has been a significant drop in air pollution. Because they are allowed to use bus lanes, they are not clogging up these lanes as they make up 85% of the traffic in them.

        15. Norwegians have a high level of education.

        It is estimated that the Norwegian government spends more than 6.6% of its GDP on education which is one of the highest in the world. It also has very high level of education and a very small dropout rate. This is reflected in the high quality of life and the general cultural level where creativity is encouraged. These together with the low crime statistics make Norway a great place to live.

        Let us know in the comments if you have lived in Norway and what makes it so awesome.

        Featured photo credit: Preikestolen, Norway (2014)/ Alberto Carrasco Casado via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

        Video Summary

        Why is it important to train up our core strength?

        There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

        This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

        Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

        In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

        One Exercise, multiple benefits

        There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

        By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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        When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

        Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

        In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

        What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

        What will happen when you start doing planks every day

          1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

          Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

          • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
          • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
          • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
          • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

          2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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            Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

            Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

            3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

              Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

              4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                5. You’ll improve overall balance

                  Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                  6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                    Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                    7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                      Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                      How to hold a plank position

                      1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                      2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                      3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                      4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                      5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                      6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                      7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                      Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                      Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                        How to improve your plank time gradually

                        1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                        2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                        3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                        Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                        Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                        You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                        • Prolapse
                        • After prolapse surgery
                        • Pelvic pain conditions
                        • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                        • Previous childbirth
                        • Overweight

                        Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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