Embrace Friluftsliv for Better Mental and Physical Health

Embrace Friluftsliv for Better Mental and Physical Health
21st April 2022 James Brooke

Embrace Friluftsliv for Better Mental and Physical Health

Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura woodburning stoves, shares her guide enjoying time in nature the Nordic way.

Friluftsliv, the Nordic concept of getting outdoors and spending more time in nature is, for many, the key to better mental and physical health. It covers anything from cycling to work or a lunchtime walk in the park, to a hike with friends or a weekend break in the countryside.

Catharina Björkman, Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura woodburning stoves says: “Friluftsliv is the Nordic concept of spending time outdoors in nature, and the phrase literally translates as ‘open-air living’.

“Friluftsliv isn’t connected to any one activity. Instead, it’s a commitment to celebrating time outdoors regardless of the season or weather, and it’s an opportunity to disconnect from daily stressors.

“Immersing yourself in nature is both refreshing and rejuvenating, with the ability to quieten even the busiest of minds – something we could all use more of.

“It’s widely recognised today that spending time in green spaces can impact us positively on multiple levels; it can boost mood, improve confidence and self-esteem, help you feel more relaxed, ease loneliness, as well as benefit your physical health (1).

“So, whether you choose an activity that gets the adrenaline pumping – an uphill hike or cold-water swim – or just something as simple as walking the dog or enjoying a coffee and stroll in the park with a friend, just remember the one golden rule of friluftsliv – there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.”

Read on for Catharina’s guide to friluftsliv…

Find connection

Spending more time outdoors is the primary way to foster a greater sense of connection with nature, and in turn, our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about and appreciate our natural surroundings can be the key to good mental health and wellbeing.

Nature can mean many things; green spaces such as parks, woodland or forests, or blue spaces like rivers, wetlands, beaches or canals. It could even be a treelined street in the city, a garden, lush verge or even indoor plants or window boxes. The only hard and fast rule is that the more nature there is in our life, the better.

During times of high-stress or uncertainty, spending time outdoors in nature is often used as an effective ‘coping strategy’ thanks to its ability to leave us feeling more relaxed, reduce anxiety and boost our mood(2).

Get active

As far as Nordic culture is concerned, daily physical activity is the norm, and a love of spending time outdoors is a huge part of this.

Instead of pounding the treadmill, lifting weights in a darkened room or subjecting themselves to the newest HIIT workout, Scandinavians enjoy more traditional activities like walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, cycling and mountain biking, allowing them to stay fit whilst also enjoying quality time in the great outdoors.

Get the whole family involved

Friluftsliv is also a great way to cultivate stronger connections with loved ones. Just ‘being together’ in natural settings provides the quality time and space we need to connect, away from the distractions of screens, devices, work or life admin. Sharing time outdoors with family or loved ones provides the opportunity to be more present, more in the moment, to respond more mindfully or less impulsively. It also tends to lend itself better to enjoy games or other outdoor pursuits, it fosters laughter or tears, and most importantly, it allows for unhurried chats that help us to open up and bond with the people we care about.”

Try something new

Embracing friluftsliv also means more opportunities to try something new – whether that’s a physical activity like wild swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking or hiking, or a gentler, more meditative activity like forest bathing.

Whilst there is no right or wrong way to enjoy the sensation of immersing yourself in nature, something as simple as forest bathing is an opportunity to slow down both physically and mentally, and embrace the sights, sounds and smells of the green space around you.

Simply put your phone on silent – or better still, leave it behind completely – and enjoy.

Fit it in to your lifestyle

Whilst it would be great to think that we can convince our friends and family to join us for weekend hikes through the countryside or refreshing wild swims, most of us are too pushed for time to enjoy these pursuits on a regular basis.

So, consider activities that can be weaved into your day-to-day routine – a morning walk to the train station, getting off the bus a stop early to walk through the park, or embracing pedal power for your commute are all simple ways to enjoy spending more time outdoors.

Alternatively, try a walking meeting with your colleagues in the nearest green space – benefits include increased creativity, productivity, and boosted wellbeing (3).

For more information on Contura, please visit www.contura.eu

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Notes to editors:

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About Contura:
Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.

Starting at £1,395, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.

Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. Currently, 95% of Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.

Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) in the UK.

For more information please visit www.contura.eu