The evening twilight bathes everything in a warm glow. We slowly walk along the road towards the sea. On the surface of the water there is a play of colours. The greying blue of the surface is punctuated with orange lines, reflections of street lights. With difficulty, we can make out silhouettes of fishermen. On the other side we pass a small lake. Swans and ducks are still feeding in the water. A grey heron and a group of seagulls are flying above. We can just make out the moon behind clouds. We are a few hundred meters from a busy road, but we could be miles away, it is so quiet and tranquil on both sides of our path.
Norwegians created term frilutsliv which literally means ‘free air life’ and emphasizes the importance of being outdoors. The combination of fresh air, nature and physical activity can improve our immune system and mental state. Add to it the fun of playing a favorite sport, meeting people, walking your dog, or watching nature and here is a recipe for a great time. Most of the time it costs nothing, but can bring so much joy!
There is no doubt that spending time outside is beneficial for our health and wellbeing, but what should we do while outside? The answer is pretty simple: we do whatever brings us joy, whatever we like, or in mood for doing. According to frilutsliv philosophy we only need to be outdoors experiencing the moment, no distractions, no notifications from phones.
Personally I believe in this idea. Many, many times I have overcome my tiredness, laziness etc. and went for a jog, cycle, or just a stroll. Running through a local park, or along the sea coast has huge mind clearing powers, often I discovered that my initial tiredness was gone after 10, 20 minutes of being physically active. Often when exercising is not on cards (i.e. recovery days) I take my camera for a walk and I take my time trying to take nice photos. I like strolling along the sea in a nearby village. There are many sea birds, herons around and once there were even dolphins playing near the pier! But what is guaranteed there are the magical sunsets, and aren’t they photographer’s dream?
Days where I feel more adventurous are taken for running. We are lucky to leave near a hilly woods, which are perfect for tougher running. The woods are also a mountain bikers dream, some even claim it is the best place for off-road biking in the whole Ireland! Nevertheless they add to the adventurous feel of some of the paths…. Woods are also good for wild animals spotting, be it birds of prey, deer or red squirrels. With a bit of searching and asking around it is quite easy to find woods in every locality.
Hillwalking is another fantastic activity. Walking through the hills can be a great experience, a good way to see the country, to meet likeminded people and spend the whole day far from our everyday lives. Sunshine or rain, there is always something worthwhile on the hills. Hillwalking is an awesome way to build stamina as well. It requires hours of physical activity, and there is no cheating, once you started, you must finish your walk! From my personal experience joining a good hillwalking club is a way to go. A club is a safe, fun way of exploring hills.
While talking about ‘free air life’ I cannot forget about food!!!. Finishing shorter walks/runs with coffee from a mobile trailer adds to the experience. A flask with a hot drink and some packed lunch are often essentials on longer adventures. Black tea never tastes so good like after few hours of hard hiking in rainy weather! And if you add nice cake and group of friends, outdoor living is a blast.