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Written By Karl VonBerg.

Posted on February 21st, 2023.

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Have you ever stood at the top of a hill, on a mountain, at the edge of a gorge, by a waterfall, by the ocean or a lake and felt the wind blowing over your body? 

1 persons hair blowing in the wind

Did it invigorate and refresh you, inspire you, calm you, help you sort out your thoughts?  That is what Uitwaaien will do for you.  This is a Dutch practice of being out in the wind, which the Netherlands has a lot of.  Uitwaaien is literally translated as “outblowing”.  A better translation is to exercise in the wind. Or get out in the wind. 

Want to learn to pronounce Uitwaaien?  Check this out:

This is one of many health-related movements connected to the natural world around us.  It is super simple and doesn’t involve much except you and an outside spot with a breeze.

Being out in the open, away from wind obstructions are the locations that work the best.  Try it out on a beach…

Or someplace in the countryside.  More wind is better when you’re Uitwaaien.

Do it by yourself or with others.

Relaxing is part of Uitwaaien.  In fact, by focusing on your surroundings as you do Uitwaaien (e.g., ocean waves, sea shells, plants, trees, etc.), it can deactivate a part of the brain associated with planning and innovation, known as the prefrontal cortex. By deactivating the prefrontal cortex, your mind can relax. 

Anytime there is a breeze is a good time for Uitwaaien.  It can be sunny, rainy, snowy, dark.

Think of it as inhaling a gusty breath of fresh air which emotionally leads to a mental cleanse.  Out with the bad, in with the good!  It refreshes you physically, clears the mind, and prepares you for what is coming next.  If you can get away from man-made places it can have greater benefits. 

Even a slight breeze is better than none.

Uitwaaien is a 500-year-old word, which has changed meaning over the centuries from a flag flapping in the wind, to clothes drying on a line, to the present freshening up of people.  Think of the saying “you need to cool down”, and add “in the wind.”  I am frustrated, “I need to get a breath of fresh air.”  Now it is a positive term for keeping good health.

So, go find some wind, preferably in a natural setting, and soak it in.

Actually, you don’t have to soak it in. It works its way into you, blowing out the blahs and leaving you refreshed.

If you are interested in checking out more of the health benefits of being out in the natural world, check out the following practices:

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