Written by Charlotte Campbell
Friluftsliv may be hard to say (it’s pronounced free-loofts-live), but it could be worth investing time in this Scandinavian philosophy. Translated literally, it means “free air life”, but fresh air doesn’t cover half of it. Friluftsliv is all about exploring, appreciating and interacting with nature.
Why Would Friluftsliv Make Me Fitter?
Well, in our increasingly indoor lives, we miss out on some of the key benefits of nature. Fresh air helps to clear our lungs of pollutants, which in turn can give us greater aerobic capacity.
Exposure to nature has also been proven to improve our ability to focus and make us sleep better. So if work deadlines and stress are keeping you up at night, the great outdoors could help.
Outdoor pursuits are generally good for burning calories, too. Hiking, horse riding, rowing and other traditional pastimes are all active. And if you’re all about the intense workouts, don’t forget you can do a high-intensity workout outdoors as well as in the gym!
Friluftsliv can be a great way of getting out of a fitness rut. If you’ve been feeling less inclined to head to the gym, don’t! Hit a trail instead. Your mind will be so occupied with the new sights, smells and atmosphere that your body will forget you’re working out. Not only that, but time in nature can boost creativity in individuals. So even if you don’t suddenly feel the urge to write poetry, you might find you get a load of new ideas for your next workout routine.
Why Would Friluftsliv Make Me Happier?
It never hurts to take a leaf out of Scandinavia’s book when it comes to happiness. Their countries always rank highly in national happiness index. You may have recently heard of the term “hygge”, which is another Scandinavian philosophy concerned with cosiness and socialising. This is being heralded as the new cure-all for the blues, especially in winter. Friluftsliv, however, might be more appealing to fitness fans, as it encourages a more active lifestyle.
Some attribute friluftsliv’s happy-boosting to being “switched off”. When exploring, you’re away from your normal routine and modern distractions. Phone signal often falls away from the more rural you go, and you can literally put distance between yourself and your day job.
In addition, friluftsliv can be a great way to enhance our relationships. Whilst the philosophy is more focused on your experiences with nature, studies show that shared experiences are a great way to feel closer to others. So rope in your friends, partner or family into experiencing the friluftsliv lifestyle with you.
How Can I Embrace Friluftsliv?
Look up your nearest National Trust Site or join some ramblers and walkers forums. You’ll quickly find tips for locations near you that are great for an amateur explorer. Pick an activity that you would like to be involved in. From mountain biking to hiking or even rowing a boat, outdoor pursuits can all help you connect with nature. Then take a deep breath of fresh air, and take the plunge into your new friluftsliv lifestyle!