Who managed to spend One Hour Outside every day in February? Go on, be honest, if you spent at least one hour without a roof over your head each and every day in February you can have a big pat on the back. Nice one.
Me? Well, actually, no. Nearly; looking back at my diary I managed 26 out of the 28 days, so I’ll take that. Excuses for the two? One I managed half an hour, the other was the day Storm Doris hit and I was most definitely not going out other than walking to and from the car for work! So mostly successful.
The last week of February for me was all about lunch time walks in the week and one big walk in the Peak District at the weekend. I think that’s commonplace for most of us really; weekdays are about making an effort to fit in time to get outdoors on our commute or in our lunch breaks, but at the weekend we can spend a little more time planning something bigger or longer or further afield. The challenge is to make sure we don’t just rely on the weekends for our fix.
The Origins of One Hour Outside
Back at the end of September, when I was sat at Ordnance Survey HQ being properly introduced to the world of map making (read about my visit), I almost spat my tea out when I was told that a huge number of people will not walk if it will take them more than 15 minutes to reach their destination. I found this totally shocking. And as a result, One Hour Outside was born.
One hour outside in the New Forest.
We gave it a good go in November, a month that is typically dark and wet and everything else. It went well; lots of you joined in and many professed to finding the challenge a useful encouragement and motivation to spending a little bit more time outside each day. I mean, it sounds like a very simple challenge doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t a complicated idea. Just one single hour outside every day in amongst the 24 we have been gifted should be easily doable, even with work and chores and family commitments taking up the rest. But as with every challenge, even the little ones, my One Hour Outside campaign is much harder in practice.
And after being named as one of Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside Champions for 2017 (see this post), I decided to bring back my One Hour Outside for the month of February. Exactly four weeks, and this time a teeny bit easier because rather than getting darker each day, the skies are getting lighter. Excellent.
Otter hunting in Lincoln. I still haven’t spotted them!
Get Motivated for One Hour Outside
The One Hour Outside challenge is here to stay. I shan’t be writing monthly updates for the whole year, but I absolutely charge you to keep at it. Take it and use it as your motivation. Be encouraged to leave the comfort and cosines of the indoors whatever the weather and get some actual fresh air and natural vitamin D. It has been scientifically proven that getting outside is good for us (read about it here) – our body, mind and soul all benefit from spending time outside. It’s a brilliant stress reliever, helps us make decisions, and even helps us fight illness. Even though I already know I love to get outside as much as possible, setting this challenge was a very simple way to make it into more of a habit and less of an occasion, and I hope you find that for yourself too.
Lunchtime walking in Lincoln.
I have to say I think the best bit of running One Hour Outside for me is that many of you also thought it was a good idea and joined in. I have really loved getting your updates on twitter, comments on my blog posts and photos on instagram. Your comments and updates have helped keep me motivated, and it’s been fun to converse with you on something I feel so strongly about. I hope you’ve enjoyed the community of One Hour Outside; please feel free to put your final thoughts now the month has ended in the comments below.
The “official” challenge with regular nagging from me might have ended, but I do hope you’ll take something from this month long experiment and keep up with your daily dose of the outdoors for the rest of the year and in fact your life (oooo now that is a challenge!). Keep using #OneHourOutside and tweeting me with your updates, it’s fun to hear what you’re getting up to. Maybe I will reprise the month-long challenge in the summer when we’ll all be so good at it I’ll have to double it to two hours…!
Walking in the Wolds.