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10 Lessons About Health We Should Learn From Down Under

Why You Need To Be More Like ‘Crocodile Dundee’

In the United States, we’re known to not lead the healthiest of lifestyles. We’ve heard about the French way of life or the Mediterranean diet. It pretty much seems like every other culture on our beautiful planet leads, on average, healthier lifestyles. Why is that? What’s the deal?

We turned to former expat, Leah Vanderveldt, who moved from NYC to Sydney for four years. During her amazing time “down under,” she was able to experience another culture and another way of life. The biggest lesson: they have completely different priorities than we do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn and change.

Read on to find out more


1. They value their vacation time. 

One of the biggest differences, is not only the amount of paid vacation given (about 4 to 6 weeks a year), but how much employees are encouraged to actually take that time — and do. Almost the complete opposite of the US. Many people in Australia take off more than a week at a time and take multiple breaks throughout the year. Everyone came back feeling refreshed and restored, making them able to maintain a stronger work ethic. Just because you don’t get that much paid vacation time doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from this. Try a staycation or adventure weekend. It’ll get you refreshed and recharged just the same.

2. They start their days early.

A lot of Australians wake up with the sun, often exercising in the early morning and getting into the office before 8:30. A whole society of “morning people.” Embrace it!

3. Exercise is a priority.

So many locals were incredibly fit and active, many hitting the beach in Sydney at 6a.m. for running, walking, swimming, and surfing. There’s nothing better than starting the day with something that makes you feel great.

4. They get outside regularly.

The weather in Australia is wonderful. Aussies take advantage of the all the future that surrounds them by getting outside and exploring beautiful beaches, rainforests and bushland.

5. They’re sun smart. 

While Australian’s love a beach holiday and the outdoors, they also face some seriously dangerous UV rays like we do in the US. However, unlike here, there are widespread campaigns encouraging people to protect themselves from the sun and get regular skin checks. They’ve also banned tanning salons and all SPFs are at least 30 or higher.

6. Breakfast is a regular habit.

Australians were perfecting the avocado toast before it was cool. Cafes and bakeries open early and weekend breakfast outings are a regular event. Australians know how to breakfast the healthy way with lots of fresh fruit, eggs, pumpkin and avocados. They make a mean cappuccino, too.

7. They have great produce that’s widely available.

You haven’t lived until you’ve had a mango from Queensland. The climate lends itself to growing great (and tropical) produce all year long. They have seasons for sure, but the in-season fruit and veg is abundant and beautiful.

8. They’re better drinkers.

In Australia, standard-sized pours are mandatory in bars and pubs and alcohol content is clearly labeled on all drinks. This way, people know exactly how much they’re consuming and not just guessing. It’s also pretty common to take a month off drinking for organized charity events. Taking this time to detox is beneficial for your body and mind.

9. The minimum wage is way higher. 

Currently, the national minimum wage in Australia is $17.29 ASD or about $12.68 USD. The idea of everyone getting “a fair go” makes it possible for most people to make a decent living — even when working for minimum wage. While not directly related to health, it’s an important aspect of a high quality of life.

10. They’re happier.

Statistically, Australians are happier than Americans. Practically, there’s a lot to be said about their notoriously laid-back, “no worries” attitude. Australians take most things in their stride and are able to laugh at themselves, which is a wonderfully healthy quality.

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