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What is friluftsliv and how could it help people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 era?
By Megan Whitby 05 Oct 2020
Research published in 2015 went so far as to call natural areas
The pandemic’s outbreak caused many people to use time in nature as a coping mechanism and an outlet to deal with the global health crisis and subsequent lockdown.

In Scandinavia, time outdoors is passionately encouraged and even celebrated, using the philosophy of ‘friluftsliv’ which is deeply rooted in the nation’s history.

The term was originally coined by Norwegian poet, Henrik Ibsen, who used the term to describe the ‘value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing’, according to BBC Worklife.

Translated loosely as ‘open-air living’, friluftsliv is the Scandinavian concept of celebrating the outdoors and the important connection between humans and nature.

Prior to COVID-19, the increasingly urbanised and fast-paced world made it harder for people to both easily access natural spaces and make time to explore them.

However, growing numbers of people are spending more time outdoors and it seems this could have the potential to improve physical and mental health too, with scientists providing a host of evidence to support that nature is beneficial for wellbeing.

For example, research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2003 indicated that trees and woodlands can have a healing effect on the mind, while a 2010 study by scientists at the University of Essex’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society found that regular nature walks can improve mental wellness.

Another article – published in 2015 with American Academy of the Sciences – even went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health".

With this in mind, friluftsliv could become a driver to help people sustain their wellbeing using nature during the pandemic and potential future lockdowns. It could be used as a celebratory concept to inspire people to spend even more time outdoors and take it up with a newfound enthusiasm.

As spas have reopened, many have begun embracing the outdoors, with Glen Ivy Hot Springs offering outdoor treatments and Lefay’s Lake Garda resort launching guided wellness retreats in nature.

"Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors,” said Dr Carlo Barbieri, president of Lefay’s Spa Method Scientific Committee.

“Physical issues such as joint pain and obesity as well as mental states of anxiety and depression are all proven to benefit from connection with nature and outdoor activities.”


News
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23 Oct 2020
Elemis has appointed its co-founder and president of Elemis USA, Noella Gabriel, to global president, effective immediately. The decision is part of a wider leadership reshuffle which sees Oriele Frank, previously Elemis’ UK managing director, ... More
23 Oct 2020
Global lifestyle brand Nobu Hospitality, founded by Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper, is continuing its global expansion with a new luxury destination in Marrakech, Morocco, scheduled to open Q3 2021. The 71-key ... More
22 Oct 2020
Accor’s global VP of wellbeing, Emlyn Brown, believes COVID-19 has provided a platform for hotel spas in city locations to leverage the local market and become a crucial revenue driver. Speaking in a recent webinar ... More
21 Oct 2020
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GSN Planet (GSN) has recently unveiled a COVID-19 Sustainability Guide in response to the global pandemic. The guide is designed to provide inspiration and practical options for businesses and practitioners to evolve during the pandemic ... More
21 Oct 2020
Luxury Greek destination, Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, has launched an exclusive seclusion programme designed for guests looking for a remote wellbeing escape. Located in the concealed mountain region of West Zagori, Aristi Resort is ... More
20 Oct 2020
Luxury Irish spa resort, The Johnstown Estate, in County Meath, has invested €3.5m (US$4.13m, £3.18m) in creating a new spa nearly twice the size of its previous facility, scheduled to launch early November 2020. Located ... More
19 Oct 2020
Customer experience software provider, AskNicely, has announced it will host a new virtual event called the Global Frontline Experience Summit. AskNicely believes that a memorable customer experience starts at the frontline, and at the moment ... More
20 Oct 2020
Independent spa consultant, Orla Gallagher, and health promoter, Ciara Loughran, have collaborated to produce a new luxury Northern Irish day spa concept and product house, named Le Jardin. The concept made its debut in Dungannon, ... More
19 Oct 2020
In a COVID-19 era, human touch and physical connection are being restricted like never before, but results from the world’s largest global touch study show that 54 per cent of people felt they had too ... More
15 Oct 2020
Spa management company, ISM Spa, has introduced a new spa and wellness concept named R+R Wellness, at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. R+R Wellness, which stands for Recharge and Replenish, offers treatments based on the five ... More
15 Oct 2020
Currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment, Little Kulala, Wilderness Safaris’ acclaimed desert retreat in Namibia’s Sossusvlei area, is creating a new holistic health and wellness retreat in the heart of the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Integrating ... More
     
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NEWS
What is friluftsliv and how could it help people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 era?
POSTED 05 Oct 2020 . BY Megan Whitby
Research published in 2015 went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health" Credit: Shutterstock/Dzmitrock
Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors
– Carlo Barbieri
The pandemic’s outbreak caused many people to use time in nature as a coping mechanism and an outlet to deal with the global health crisis and subsequent lockdown.

In Scandinavia, time outdoors is passionately encouraged and even celebrated, using the philosophy of ‘friluftsliv’ which is deeply rooted in the nation’s history.

The term was originally coined by Norwegian poet, Henrik Ibsen, who used the term to describe the ‘value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing’, according to BBC Worklife.

Translated loosely as ‘open-air living’, friluftsliv is the Scandinavian concept of celebrating the outdoors and the important connection between humans and nature.

Prior to COVID-19, the increasingly urbanised and fast-paced world made it harder for people to both easily access natural spaces and make time to explore them.

However, growing numbers of people are spending more time outdoors and it seems this could have the potential to improve physical and mental health too, with scientists providing a host of evidence to support that nature is beneficial for wellbeing.

For example, research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2003 indicated that trees and woodlands can have a healing effect on the mind, while a 2010 study by scientists at the University of Essex’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society found that regular nature walks can improve mental wellness.

Another article – published in 2015 with American Academy of the Sciences – even went so far as to call natural areas "vital for mental health".

With this in mind, friluftsliv could become a driver to help people sustain their wellbeing using nature during the pandemic and potential future lockdowns. It could be used as a celebratory concept to inspire people to spend even more time outdoors and take it up with a newfound enthusiasm.

As spas have reopened, many have begun embracing the outdoors, with Glen Ivy Hot Springs offering outdoor treatments and Lefay’s Lake Garda resort launching guided wellness retreats in nature.

"Even before COVID-19, more and more academic studies were highlighting the benefits of prescribing a connection with nature and the great outdoors,” said Dr Carlo Barbieri, president of Lefay’s Spa Method Scientific Committee.

“Physical issues such as joint pain and obesity as well as mental states of anxiety and depression are all proven to benefit from connection with nature and outdoor activities.”
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