6 Reasons Why Copenhagen Is The Healthiest City

CNN has confirmed something many of us living here already suspected – Copenhagen is one of the 10 healthiest cities in the world! Personally, we feel that Copenhagen is the healthiest city on this list. Here are the top six reasons Copenhagen is the healthiest city:

1. Work/life balance

Denmark has a great culture of work/life balance, with only 2% of Danes working more than 40 hours per week. This leaves people with plenty of free time for friends, family, volunteering, and personal interests. Having a proper work/life balance not only reduces stress levels, but increases happiness as well. After all, Denmark has been named the Happiest Country in the World for a few years now.


Work/life balance in Denmark is a top contributor to overall happiness in Copenhagen.

2. Cycling Culture

The cycling culture is one of the first things visitors will notice about Copenhagen – bikes are everywhere! Approximately 50% of all commutes in Copenhagen are made by bike, with plans to see this number increase in the future. Not only is cycling economical and environmentally friendly, it’s physically healthy as well. The city has implemented many bike lanes, paths, and bridges to ensure cycling is a safe and enjoyable activity.

Cycling in Copenhagen Healthiest City

Approximately half of all commutes are made by bicycle in Copenhagen.

3. strong social networks

96% of Danes report having a strong support system and being able to call someone in a time of need. Access to a strong social network and support system is proven to have both mental and physical benefits such as reduced anxiety and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

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4. Access to green areas

Despite being a bustling capital city, Copenhagen is full of green areas such as parks and beaches for locals to spend their free time. In fact, the city has made it a priority to ensure that all residents can access a green area within 15 minutes by next year – quite an undertaking, but it shows how seriously green areas are taken around here!

Parks Copenhagen Healthiest City

Access to green areas is a top priority of the city of Copenhagen.

5. Fitness as a priority

Even though many Danes get some exercise by cycling, they still flock to the many fitness centres and outdoor areas to break a sweat. Fitness is clearly a priority for many people here, and “what kind of fitness do you do” is a common question to ask someone. The Danes don’t let weather stop them either – you will see people out running rain, shine, or cold temperatures.

Scandinavian Fitness: Personal Health for the Greater Good

No matter what time of year it is, you will likely find a handful of joggers, ranging from all ages, around the central lakes of Copenhagen.


Laughter yoga is one of the many free and healthy activities available to residents of Copenhagen. The city is even home to Denmark’s own laughter guru, Thomas Flindt! Laughter yoga proves that laughter really is the medicine sometime, with reported benefits such as improved mood and decreased levels of stress.

Thomas and Sanjay

Thomas Flindt showed CNN’s Dr. Sanjay and his producer Danielle how laughter helps Danes be the happiest people in the world

In short, the Danes can have their Carlsberg and drink it too. This is a country all about balance, both in their professional lives and in their approach to health. To learn more about health and happiness in Denmark, tune into CNN’s “Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” as he talks about happiness in Denmark and participates in a laugher yoga session with Thomas Flindt. 

Images from here, here, here.

Anna Guastello
10 Sep 2014

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