But I just can't seem to make up my mind which colour scheme works best or maybe you have another colour that you think might be even better? Any input would be really useful and if you want to learn more about why Nordic Walking is so Hygge and good for you then please check out the blog post below on my Nordic Walking site -
Have you heard about Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh) a Danish concept of cosiness that spans the Nordic countries? Here at Ministry of Nordic Walks it seems to be fitting perfectly with what we do in our group walks particularly at this time of year.
1: Happiness and Mindfulness
Denmark (where Hugge originates) regularly tops The World Happiness Report (commissioned by the United Nations since 2012). Meik Wiking, Charlotte Abrahams and Louisa Thomsen Brits (authors of books on Hygge – see below) link Hugge to mindfulness techniques and happiness science where people should be experiencing and concentrating on the pleasures and sensations they can appreciate in the present moment leading to increased well-being and feelings of happiness and contentment.
Nordic Walking in the autumn and winter months brings lots of these types of pleasurable moments. The warm snuggly feeling of woollen socks, gloves and hats, the heating up of the body through the physical exercise, the beauty and aesthetics that surround us in nature as we walk along and the lovely feeling of having been out and exercised – all giving us a little bit of Hygge which we can appreciate.
2: Get Back to Nature
Signe Johansen in her new book “How to Hygge” sites the Nordic love of being at one with nature and enjoying the great outdoors as central to the concept of hygge. This is backed up by several studies that show that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to keep up a constant routine as well as walking outdoors burning more calories than using a treadmill due to factors such as wind resistance, inclines and downhill slopes.
Nordic Walking is ALL about getting outside and getting off the beaten track and into nature. The Nordic poles help with stability and power on inclines as well as reduce downhill stress and we all agree walking with others keeps us coming back for more!
3: Clear Your Head
Hygge is all about having that feeling of being content. Research has shown that being outdoors in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases feelings of energy, is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, boosts your self-esteem whilst decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression.
Our group Nordic walkers often talk about how Nordic walking really helps them to attain a feeling of happiness and contentment as we walk along various pathways along canals and through tree lined areas. The constant rhythm of “planting” the poles firmly, helps decrease tension or any anger issues and many have commented upon the positive mental health well-being they feel Nordic walking in such natural surroundings gives them.
4: The Joy of Exercise
Hygge views being physical (taking exercise) as being enjoyable and not to be seen as a chore or something laborious. Signe Johansen points out that hygge is about the joy of exercise as a group activity and collaborating to achieve a sense of community. Studies show that sedentary lifestyles are as dangerous to our health as smoking and dramatically increase our risk of contracting serious health problems such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and cancer. So health and happiness are linked in hygge.
Nordic walking in groups achieves this sense of community and joy of exercise as we decide on which routes to take and new places to explore. The use of the poles aids to the pace and length of walking routes we cover so decreasing any feelings of walking becoming laborious.
5: De-Stress with something warm to drink
Hygge also encompasses another Nordic tradition of Fika – which is a daily break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink allowing oneself to de-stress.
Our Nordic walking groups often begin and end at cafes and many of our walkers make use of these facilities either before or after a walk – the social aspect makes it a welcome break from the hurley-burley of life.
Charlotte Adams – Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures – Living the Danish
Signe Johansen - How to Hygge
Louisa Thomsen Brits - The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well
Meik Wiking - The Little Book of Hygge
J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge. "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review." Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; : 110203115102046.
Miyazaki Y, Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Matsunaga K. "Preventive medical effects of nature therapy" Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep;66(4):651-6.