Embrace the Norwegian Open-Air Living ‘Friluftsliv’ Trend with Glass Patio Doors

Friluftsliv is trending as Americans are embracing this Norwegian concept, which translates to “open-air life.” Friluftsliv celebrates living a simple life close to nature, one where the outdoors is enjoyed in every season. It is a philosophy, lifestyle, and tradition. As beautifully articulated by three Nordic authors and published by the USDA Forest Services

“Friluftsliv is a Way Home. It is about touching and being touched by free Nature…”

Friluftsliv is pronounced “free loofs leaf,” which the Norwegians have been saying since the 1850s. It was then the term was first inked in print by Henrik Ibsen, the Nordic playwright and poet. For him and generations of Norwegians to come, friluftsliv represents the value of being in nature for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

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These well-being benefits have been studied and documented in many research initiatives. The research has consistently revealed that Mother Nature is the best healer. 

“What happens when we pay attention to nature, is that we shift our focus away from ourselves,” said Helga Synnevåg Løvoll, an assistant professor of friluftsliv at Volda University College. Løvoll’s studies revealed that sitting quietly in the woods can have as many health benefits as running up a mountain.

Simple exposure to nature is enough to make a change in our well-being

9 out of 10 Norwegians report better moods and decreased stress when spending time in nature, according to a public survey conducted in 2020. Experiencing peace and calm is one of the main motivations for enjoying friluftsliv outdoors in Norway. 

Is it any surprise that Norway consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world? 

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The Real Friluftsliv Meaning

“For Norwegians, friluftsliv has a deeper meaning, like ‘disconnecting from daily stress’ and being part of the cultural ‘we,’ which binds us together as human beings as a part of nature,” shares Bente Lier. Lier serves as secretary-general of Norsk Friluftsliv, an umbrella organization for Norwegian outdoor organizations committed to an increased understanding of nature’s intrinsic value.

The friluftsliv meaning is also knit tightly to “kos,” the unique Norwegian word for enjoying a good, cozy time. 

Americans Turn to Camping and Nature to Relieve Stress

Friluftsliv from Norway is trending in design at the same time camping is soaring in America, and it’s easy to see why. The two are one in philosophy, with nature becoming the saving grace of the pandemic.

According to The Dyrt, a popular camping planning website, traffic is up 400% from summer 2019. Kampgrounds of America’s annual North American Camping Report demonstrates how the pandemic inspired a significant influx in camping. More than 86 million U.S. households identify as campers, with 48 million households taking at least one camping trip in 2020 – a 6 million increase over 2019.

10.1 million households camped for the first time in 2020, with more than 60% of them planning to camp more. Across every demographic, a growing percentage planned to increase their camping trips in 2021.  

“More than 80% of campers changed their camping habits last year – including working and schooling from the campground, turning to RVs for travel safety and security, and adding more weekdays to their trips – which, coupled with the influx of first-time campers, solidifies that many Americans turned to camping and the outdoors to make it through a challenging year,” said Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America.

More Americans than ever are camping — and with friluftsliv trending, they’re clearly finding ways to bring the connection with the outdoors back home. 

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Friluftsliv as a design trend is a beautiful and practical response to pandemic life, with benefits that will extend far into the future. Research shows that exposure to nature has tremendous physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. In fact, seeing nature literally changes our brain’s response and activates love and empathy! 

Using fMRI to measure brain activity, discovered that participants exhibited very different neural responses when viewing nature vs. urban scenes. When participants saw nature, the parts of their brain related to love and empathy were activated.

In contrast, seeing urban scenes caused activation of the fear and anxiety portions of the brain, including the amygdala, which is responsible for our fight-or-flight response. 

The implications of this research for design, both for individual homes and communities, are invaluable. Imagine seeing the fullness of nature from your home – and how much the love and empathy regions of your brain will be activated! Architects and homeowners have discovered Panda’s glass patio doors are the perfect way to bring the love of the outdoors into your home.  Our extensively tested, ultra-slim profile TS.X0 Multi-Slide glass doors offer unbeatable clarity and unobstructed views of any landscape.

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Good Nature, Good Mood

Nature is an organic mood booster and anxiety reliever. Researchers at Stanford University discovered that nature experiences produced clear benefits for emotional effect, including decreases in anxiety and rumination.

In addition, they found nature experiences benefit cognition as well, especially in increasing complex working memory span. Being outdoors has also been shown to decrease stress hormone levels.

Other research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety. Imagine the impact of seeing the full glory of your landscape in your home!

Indeed, simply seeing scenes of nature is enough to change our stress response. In a classic laboratory experiment by Texas A&M University, participants were shown a stress-inducing film.  Afterward, the ones shown natural scenes had much faster, comprehensive recovery from the stress than those who were shown urban scenes.

Many studies have shown that simply looking out a window and seeing nature relieves our stress and soothes us. 

Physical Benefits: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and More

Studies have demonstrated that time outside brings physical benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, blood pressure, premature death, and preterm birth. Decreasing heart rate and muscle tension are other palpable benefits as well.   

  • A recent study by several medical schools made a profound discovery that spending time in nature increases the expression of anti-cancer proteins and natural killer cells. These are the critical immune-response cells that kill tumor cells or ones infected with viruses. 
  • In a classic study of patients recovering from gallbladder surgery, half were given views of trees, while the others had a view of a wall. Patients who could see trees were able to tolerate their pain better and spent less time in a hospital. This study has been validated many times, confirming the healing power of natural views.
  • In a study of 20,000 people by the University of Exeter for Environment & Human Health, people who cumulatively spent two hours per week in green spaces were significantly more likely to report good psychological and physical health than those who did not spend time outdoors. The benefits were present whether the two hours were split into shorter visits or all in one trip. The effects were also consistent across occupations, socioeconomic groups, disabilities, and chronic illnesses.
Embrace the Norwegian Open-Air Living Friluftsliv Trend with Glass Patio Doors

Boosting Energy and Banishing Mental Fatigue

Could nature be better than coffee for energy? In a University of Rochester study, students who were in nature for only 20 minutes a day consistently experienced significantly increased vitality levels. Other studies have linked nature with increased energy and improved well-being.  Just recalling outdoor experiences can increase feelings of happiness and health. 

Additional studies have found that the simple presence of nature will fight off feelings of fatigue. In fact, according to research from the University of Rochester, 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities! 

Healthier, Happier Way of Life 

Being outdoors leads to increased feelings of health and life satisfaction. Those who spent at least 120 minutes outdoors each week were 20% more likely to feel high overall satisfaction with their lives. This was in contrast to those who did not spend time outdoors, as published in Nature Scientific Reports. 

Not surprisingly, the physical benefits were also significant in this study, with those who spent the hours outdoors were 60% more likely to feel in good health than their indoor peers. 

Growing Mindfulness

Many have intuitively experienced increased mindfulness in nature, and the research validates these feelings. A literature review of 25 studies found that being in nature produces mindfulness benefits.

One of the reasons may be that nature decreases our propensity for mind wandering, thus helping us to stay in the present, instead of “losing concentration completely or becoming emotionally overwhelmed.” The study argues that the natural environment is so fascinating “it calls for soft attention, thereby allowing disengagement.”

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Enjoying the Outdoors in Every Season

With all of these well-being benefits, is it any wonder Norwegian people love friluftsliv around the year? Indeed, a core tenant of friluftsliv outdoors is enjoying the nature of Norway in every season.  Whether it’s summer or winter, Norwegians connect with the outdoors – and we can too, even from the comfort of our home.

Panda’s windows and doors connect you to the outdoors in every season. In the winter, our thermally broken aluminum frame options help reduce the transfer of cold. This helps keep your home warm and cozy while still allowing you to enjoy a magnificent view of the outdoors. 

In the warmer months, our sliding glass patio doors provide a maximized connection to the outdoors and an impeccable view. Year-round, increased exposure to light significantly improves mood

Biophilic Design and Environmental Stewardship

Biophilic design, which architecturally connects the indoors with nature, goes hand-in-hand with friluftsliv. Research shows biophilic design supports physical health, psychological well-being, and cognitive function, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In addition, biophilic office environments relieve stress and have been shown to greatly improve productivity while reducing absenteeism.

With so many people working from home, nature may just be the best assistant.

The healing effects of nature can be brought into the home or office through fresh breezes, beautiful views of the outdoors, and a palette of natural colors and materials. When we design a space mindful of natural surroundings, conservation and environmental stewardship are naturally the results. 

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When designing your home or office for friluftsliv, which sliding glass patio door is best?  

Homeowners and architects have been choosing our award-winning TS.X0 Multi-Slide glass doors as the perfect way to friluftsliv. The Panda TS.X0 was awarded the Most Innovative Patio, Multi-Slide, or Multi-Panel Door system by Window + Door Magazine

Immersive, breathtaking views are the result of our ingeniously engineered design. Our glass patio door panels bring the outdoors in, with our extensively tested TS.X0 offering unbeatable clarity and unobstructed views of any landscape.

Our oversized sliding glass panels feature ultraslim profiles less than one inch across that maximize views. With the revolutionary TS.X0 pocketed panel storage system, designers and property owners can seamlessly blend interior spaces with the outdoors. 

Other features of our sliding glass patio doors make Panda the best choice: 

  • Soaring glass panels create the stunning illusion of floor-to-ceiling glass due to our innovative design using ultra-slim 15/16” mullions, as well as optional recessed headers and jambs. 
  • World-class quality engineering allows for massive glass panels up to 16 feet tall and 250 square feet. 
  • Durable steel rollers and lightweight 6063-T6 aluminum profiles create a smooth, nearly weightless feel when opening and closing our sliding glass patio doors – even when glass panels weigh over 800 lbs. 
  • When glass patio door panels are over 10 ft. in height, Panda engineers structurally reinforce stiles to maintain mechanical integrity without comprising the sleek, modern aesthetic.
  • Our glass patio doors are available in a wide variety of powder-coated and faux wood finishes to complement any décor.
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How much do sliding glass patio doors cost?  

A quote will depend on the features selected and the size. A 12-foot patio door cost will be different than ones under 10 feet due to the structurally reinforced stiles. Panda sliding glass patio doors are a luxury product that can be customized to a myriad of systems, configurations, sizes, finishes, hardware, tracks, and limitless other options to ensure they perfectly complete your needs and décor.

Contact us today for a free, no-commitment request for a quote

Friluftsliv has been embraced by Norwegians for centuries, and the beautiful fruit of the pandemic is that Americans are embracing it too – hopefully for centuries to come as well.

The well-being benefits are immense, connecting our mind, body, soul, and spirit to Mother Nature.  As the Nordic authors Faarlund, Dahle, and Jensen share, “Nature is the Home of Culture.”  May you enjoy friluftsliv and its full culture in your home! 

How Can I Help Prevent Water from Coming in My Sliding Glass Door During Rains and Floods?

How Can I Help Prevent Water from Coming in My Sliding Glass Door During Rains and Floods?

Sliding glass doors are a beautiful addition to any property, but they can raise some practical concerns for owners. With expenses from flooding damage totaling more than $17 billion annually and rising, building owners are looking for ways to help reduce the risks of flood waters from gaining access into their properties through their patio doors in the first place.

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