Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Walking with the Wind

The Dutch practice of Uitwaaien (pronounced out-vi-en, emphasis on out) focuses on the restorative mental and physical benefits of being outdoors.  The best translation of uitwaaien is to walk with the wind.  Walking outside, increasing your respiration and heart rate, can relieve stress, create a much-needed pause between activities, and help clear your mind.

The Dutch believe the best place for uitwaaien is where there are few obstacles for the wind, such as beaches, country roads, open space, or hikes above timberline.  But neighborhood, park, and city walks count, as does a breezy bike ride.  The idea is to flush out the bad air and replace it with the good or to let the wind sweep your worries away.  Forest-bathing research indicates that nature walks reduce stress, negative emotions, and depression.

Constant exposure to stress damages our well-being and increases our risk of disease.  Thus, a regular dose of uitwaaien can be very beneficial.

Takeaway:  Now that Daylight Saving Time provides more light at the end of the day, it’s time to give the refreshing Dutch pastime, uitwaaien, a try!

Well-being is a journey, not a quick fix

Sources

Sarah Lyon, Move Over, Hygge and Friluftsliv! “Uitwaaien” Just Might Be the Next Big Lifestyle Trend, Jan, 25, 2022, https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uitwaaien-dutch-lifestyle-trend-37028014.

Samantha Dixon,Uitwaaien: The Dutch Invention you Never Knew you Needed Until Now, Dutch Review, Jan. 12, 2022, https://dutchreview.com/culture/uitwaaien-is-the-dutch-phenomenon-you-never-knew-you-needed/.

Alice Fleerackers, The Simple Dutch Cure for Stress, Nautilus Health, Nov. 7, 2019, https://nautil.us/the-simple-dutch-cure-for-stress-8594/.

Sanne, Six Dutch Words I Love, YouTube (at 1:41-2:07), Feb. 26, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3HtVHmH8is.

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