Apparently if you are over 55 you are more likely to lead a balanced life than your younger counterparts. New research from Viking Cruises reveals that surprisingly the over 55s are leading happier, healthier lives than those aged 18-34.
The results show that younger people would do well to mirror the lives of their elders. They need to learn to appreciate the little things in life and live with more Scandi-style equilibrium. Hooray for Hygge!
A Balanced Life
Research highlights include:
- 62% of those aged 55+ prioritise health, fitness and exercise, compared to less than 46% of 18-34 year olds
- Twice as many older people as Millennials value feeling content. 44% of over 55s appreciate the little things compared to just 31% of younger people
- 44% of those aged 55+ believe in the importance of appreciating the little things in life, compared to only 31% of Millennials
- 40% of older people regularly spend time outdoors, compared to just 28% of Millennials
- 63% of over 55s regularly go walking outside but only 6% would join the gym to keep fit
- Over 55s are 10% more likely to eat a balanced diet and 6% more likely to focus on getting enough sleep than Millennials.
So what are the secrets of happiness and what can we learn from parents and grandparents?
1. You have nothing without your health
When asked what wellness means to them, 62% of those aged 55+ prioritised physical health, fitness, and exercise, compared to just 46% of 18 – 34 year olds. They are more likely to do things that they enjoy rather than just because they are considered ‘good for you’. A significant 63% regularly go walking outside, but only 6% would join a gym. Over 55s were also 10% more likely to eat a balanced diet.
This connects with Viking’s on-board observations of its predominantly 55+ guests. Contrary to the misconception of cruising being sedentary and focused on eating, Viking’s river and ocean guests embrace the daily excursions, regularly use the on-board walking track and take part in activities such as yoga and tai-chi.
2. It’s the little things in life
Twice as many over 55s as Millennials value feeling content, whilst 44% of over 55s appreciate the little things compared to just 31% of younger people. These include simple pleasures such as spending time with family and friends, reading, and enjoying a glass of wine. Whilst often mistranslated as ‘cosy’ the Scandi concept of Hygge is actually all about this feeling of being content in any particular moment, making everyday events special and appreciating them in their simplicity. This appreciation for the little things in life has changed the way that the over 55s travel, with this age group now demanding more meaningful experiences, designed to be savoured as opposed to just ticking off the main tourist attractions.
3. Connect with nature
More than 40% of those aged 55+ regularly spend time outdoors, compared to only 28% of Millennials. Over 55s are also 10% more likely to spend time by the water, be that rivers or oceans. This connection with nature is fundamental to the Scandinavian lifestyle due to the extraordinary natural beauty of the region. Hiking, swimming and spending time outside aren’t for keeping fit, but simply a part of everyday life and the relationship between Nordic people and the environment is symbiotic.
4. Take a break
Of the over 55s surveyed, a significant 70% enjoy sitting in a local café and people watching, compared to only a third of millennials. Fika – the Scandinavian tradition of an afternoon coffee break is an extension of the Scandinavian emphasis on living a balanced life and taking proper breaks in order to be not only happier, but more productive. Indeed, not only is Norway the world’s happiest nation, but also the world’s second most productive.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Viking asked the research respondents aged 55+ what advice they would give their 20-year-old self. Overwhelmingly, the responses were attitudinal rather than practical. Respondents urged young people to, ‘enjoy every moment’, ‘don’t worry, enjoy every day ’and ‘live every day as it comes.’ And have a positive mindset!
Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director, Viking UK says “At Viking, we’ve always believed that the over 55s are active, culturally curious people who want to enjoy every moment. We are pleased that our research confirms the over 55s have a more balanced life . We’re also hugely proud of our Scandinavian heritage. This Scandi lifestyle may have recently become popular, but we know our customers have been living this way for years – living the trend, rather than setting the trend.”
Scandinavian cruise line, Viking, partnered with Kantar TNS to survey a sample of 4,502 adults in Great Britain aged 18-70+