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Friluftsliv - Outdoor Living

Smiling woman near waterfall
We all know that getting outside is great for the body and soul. That’s why in Norway, where the days can be short and the nights can be long, they have adopted a way of life that fully embraces the great outdoors. 

Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) roughly translates to ‘open air-living’ and is deeply ingrained in the country’s heritage. So what is Friluftsliv? What are some good examples of Friluftsliv? And how can you incorporate this ‘fresh’ perspective into your life?

What is Friluftsliv?

The word was first coined by writer Henrik Ibsen in the 1850’s to describe the fundamental healing effects of nature on our body and soul. Playing sports outdoors would not be considered ‘friluftsliv’, more it was about fully immersing oneself in the experience of being in nature.

Today the term ‘friluftsliv’ is used in Norway to include any outdoor activity from a commute by bike to an open-air swim.

What are the benefits of friluftsliv?

Taking yourself away from a screen and into nature has many benefits. Being outdoors is known to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and improve your mood. Forest environments are said to improve the immune system and even a short walk around the block can significantly improve concentration. What’s not to like?

How to embrace friluftsliv

5 minutes - Open a door or window and just breathe, take in the view of the sky and enjoy the air on your face for just a few minutes.

1 hour - Take a walk around your neighborhood. Focus on the trees, the sounds, the sky and the gentle movement of your body.

1 day - Try to avoid jumping in the car unless it’s absolutely necessary. Urban walks can be just as uplifting as a walk in the countryside. It’s all about immersing yourself in the activity. Something like the 4T trail in Portland, Oregon is a great example of enjoying both urban and forest environments.

1 week - Plan a staycation that immerses you in daily outdoor activities. Look for things you can do locally like fishing, berry picking or hiking. Spend a day taking photos of local wildlife or find a cycling route that takes you on a journey you’ve never done before.

Embracing friluftsliv doesn’t have to mean a whole new way of life. No matter the weather, grabbing your raincoat, your sunscreen or your snow boots and regularly spending even a little time outdoors is going to be great for your mind, body and soul!
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