VIKING MAN in NATURE by Tyr Neilsen

The Norse people spent much of their time out in nature and became skilled woodsmen and hunters. Modern Norwegians still spend much of their time out in nature, especially during weekends and holidays, and woodsmanship and hunting are still popular year-round activities.  

Throughout the centuries, Norwegians have appreciated the fantastic nature that surrounds them. Just as their ancestors did, modern Norwegians feel that they are an integral part of nature and that they need to work with nature, not against it. Although much has changed in the last millennium, most Norwegians keep in touch with nature and see the value of nature's life-giving gifts.

Since the dawn of time, humans have lived in nature and as part of nature. Our ancestors understood the simple truth that everything is connected. We are a part of nature and nature is part of us.  Norwegians are almost daily in direct physical contact with nature, and recieve massive health benifits from having this contact. 

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad

"Ut på tur aldri sur." This Norwegian saying, which basically translates to "Out for a walk, never sour" is used all the time by a nation of people who go for regular walks out in nature. Modern science is now proving what Norwegians have always known intuitively, that nature does good things to the human brain, making us healthier, happier, and smarter.

Many modern Norwegians also embrace walking barefoot out in nature. This activity stimulates the feet as they press on the gound, something which helps with the body's healing system.

The same benifits can be achieved by digging into the ground with hands, or climbing a tree. Climbing, especially climbing trees, is not only a great form of excercise, but an activity that naturally stimulates the hands and feet.

Trees were of inestimable importance for the Norse people. Trees represented a place where food was to be found, they were a source of heat, and trees were the most important building material. It was important not to cut down too many trees in one area, as this would create ecological and resource problems. 

It was incredibly important for the Scandinavian people of the Viking Age to keep the earth fertile. If the nature that surrounded them was fertile, they too would be fertile. They knew that the Earth was incredibly old and had powerful forces, and everything they needed to be healthy came from nature.  Vikings spent time out in nature to strengthen their spirit. This was done through work, hunting, sports and utesitting, which directly translated means ‘sitting-outside’. The modern equivalent is meditation done out in nature. 

Vikings understood that spending time in nature is very good for the health in general. Modern Norwegians understand this simple fact too, and spend a good deal of their time enjoying nature, in a country that has a surplus of fresh air, fresh water, and magnificent nature.