Slovenia is located between the Alps, the Adriatic Sea, and the Pannonian Plain. There are 14 virgin forests covering an area of 540 hectares in this country. For example, the Krokar virgin forest dates back to the last ice age and remains an area still untouched by man. Slovenia’s natural resources include the well-known thermal and mineral springs. It is not surprising that in such a region the population adheres to the principles of ecological interaction with nature and a healthy lifestyle.
One of the most popular means of transportation in Slovenia is the bicycle – it is possible to travel by bicycle even between countries. For this purpose, the Podravje cycling route with a total length of 710 kilometres has been developed, passing through the territory of another three states – Hungary, Croatia, and Austria. In the Slovenian region of Carinthia, 10 kilometres of new bicycle lanes are being improved (15 million euros have been allocated for the works!). This is the most popular cycling destination for people who adhere to a healthy lifestyle because it combines not only relaxation and physical activity but also a journey through the beautiful and clean expanses of the Balkan region.
The Slovenes generally try to lead an active life and spend more time outside their houses. On weekends, they often go to the mountains. We can say that this is a national form of recreation familiar to every local resident since childhood. A long-lasting presence of snow in the mountains translates into a great number of lovers of skiing and snowboarding among the Slovenes. Another favourite kind of sport is rock climbing. Climbing tracks are successfully mastered even by children, therefore there are quite a lot of experienced climbers in this country.
In all Slovenian cities, the authorities pay close attention to the operation of motor vehicles and try to regulate the traffic in order to minimize harmful emissions. The use of alternative motor vehicles is encouraged. Thus, free transportation of small-sized cargoes and passengers on electric cars has been recently launched in Piran. This service immediately became very popular. In Novo Mesto, the system of free transportation for elderly people and people with disabilities operates on weekdays. Other regions are also developing environmentally friendly systems of public transportations. All sorts of bonus programmes and great discounts on maintenance have been developed for the owners of electric vehicles. Clean air without any chemical impurities is important for human health, and that is why there is the lowest rate of smokers in Slovenia as compared to other countries. Here you can really take a lungful of fresh air.
Attitude to healthy eating has been developed historically in Slovenia. Every autumn, the days of the traditional national breakfast are held in kindergartens, schools and other public educational institutions. Such breakfast includes cereal bread, butter, milk, honey, and apples. Everyone loves milk in this country. In supermarkets and sometimes right on the streets, there are special milk machines with fresh cow’s milk. Such milk is really a natural product, which is confirmed by the documents posted on the milk machines with detailed contacts of farms producers.
Besides, there are a lot of farms in Slovenia focused on year-round cultivation of environmentally friendly vegetables and fruits. Not only abundant harvests of blueberries or tomatoes come to the counters of local stores, but healthy vegetables such as Slovenian garlic and radicchio are in special demand here as well. Both of these products, which are very scarce on the global market, are less as food than as a lifestyle in Slovenia, as locals say. These vegetables are used to cook a variety of dishes – from polenta and štrukli to salads and beefsteaks – being synonymic to tasty and healthy food, which is affordable to anyone in this country.
Slovenian athletes are successful in many kinds of sport with the priority given to alpine skiing, wrestling, athletics, swimming, sailing, climbing, and horse riding. The national football team of Slovenia is in the Top League. There are quite a few Olympic champions among the country’s representatives.
Numerous victories in competitions at various levels are due to the fact that active sports are encouraged here starting from the kindergarten stage. Younger groups are engaged daily in the gym; older ones are already involved in sports events. After leaving kindergarten, each child already has several certificates according to the results of sports competitions.
Sports continue in school but on a more serious level. Even in a regular school, there are several options that a pupil can choose to his/her liking – do yoga or play football and tennis or go swimming.
In Slovenian universities, this issue is treated even more carefully. Students who are seriously involved in sports and have significant achievements can expect to have certain encouragement from the teaching staff during the academic year – they can even receive an individual studying schedule.
“Sport is an important issue. I am glad that it happened to me. I have been fond of sports since I was 7 years old. I started with football and spent 9 years playing it, then boxing, and American football. Now I’m doing powerlifting. I take prize-winning places in competitions in Europe. How do I manage to combine sport with studies? It’s very simple. People find time for everything that brings them pleasure. Sport helps me relax after classes. Besides, if you participate as a student in some sporting or cultural events, it enhances not only your personal prestige but also the prestige of the university. Teachers are always flexible with me. Once I participated in a powerlifting competition and did not have time to prepare a presentation for the lesson. I warned my teacher about this, and he gave me the possibility to prepare a report about my competition. I used a photo from the competition and talked about the championship, in which I had participated. This report was later posted on the website of my educational institution, and I used it as an additional advantage,” says a student, Yaroslav Korchak.
Which kind of sport to choose, everyone decides for himself. But in any case, regular exercises in combination with a healthy diet, clean air, and positive emotions help us overcome everyday stress and, from a global perspective, maintain physical activity for many years!