I am very pleased and a little bit proud to confirm that I have been chosen to continue my role as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion for a fourth year. But in these times of social distancing and general lock down, our big Get Outside splash is being rightfully replaced with a different kind of message – Get Outside but Stay Inside…
This year’s launch of the campaign had to be a bit different to previous years, as while we’re all very passionate about the outdoors, that passion is having to be very carefully directed at the moment. I am enjoying my daily government-approved walk from my own front door (actually enjoying it, even, it’s breaking up the hours of working from home very nicely), and am doing my best to encourage you to get yours. I’ve written how One Hour Outside can live on even in these times, by hopefully helping to explain the government guidance. I know how important it is to make sure we are always within the spirit of the rules (that is, not pushing them or looking for loopholes), and at the same time that we use those rules to our advantage to make sure we get fresh air and natural light every single day.
Last week I should have been spending time with my Ordnance Survey GetOutside Family down in the New Forest, catching up with good friends and meeting some of the new Champs for the first time. But, of course, that was not to be. So yes, very much a soft launch for the campaign this year, but one that is no less important than it would have been with a big photoshoot in the countryside.
In the background I am very much hoping we can get rid of this virus and return to some kind of normality very soon, because all this talk of staying indoors is getting me down somewhat. I’m just not designed to be inside. Who knows if I’ll be able to do my planned Coast to Coast hike in early June, or even if our European motorcycle road trip will be possible in September? In the meantime, as with the rest of the GetOutside Champions, I’m doing my best to make something of what we do have by finding and using the opportunities available – One Hour Outside in the middle of every day, tending to my garden, and planning some fun things within the boundary of my home.
I have blogged about the GetOutside campaign many times now, and I’m not about to apologise for that. The fact is I really, genuinely, think it’s a great campaign that needs to be shared. GetOutside was started by Ordnance Survey to help more people to get outside more often. We know from research study after research study that an active outdoor lifestyle helps us live longer, stay younger and enjoy life more. What more could we want? The group of Champions are here to tell you by example that it works.
I can’t deny that I get a massive case of imposter syndrome whenever I look at the rest of my GetOutside family, and this year even more so as there are a whopping 100 of us… My fellow Champions are quite an amazing bunch of people. Some have climbed Everest, some have hiked up hundreds of mountains, some have done all the National Trails in the UK, some make TV shows, some are big on YouTube, some race for their country, others run ultra-marathons (in their back garden at the moment!), some have cycled across countries and even continents, many have written books, some take other people on their own amazing adventures, and some have done all of those things. I’m not that person, I’m just a normal woman in her (very) late 30s (ugh!) who works full time and does her best to squeeze adventure into her evenings and weekends. And the cheaper the adventure and the sillier the purpose the better. I’m not even particularly fit (which I confirmed when I tried PE with Joe Wicks earlier this week – ouch!!).
But I am here and a part of this because I am that normal women in her late 30s trying to squeeze in as much outdoors as I can. I am proof that spending a little bit of time outside every day is good for us, I am here to tell you that it is doable, that it is worth it, and that we can all find the time for it if we look hard enough. Especially at the moment, with the government advice during lock down absolutely encouraging us to get outside for some exercise every day (within the guidelines). I know that it is good for body, mind and soul. I know that it helps me make good decisions. I know that my government-approved lunchtime walk around the block makes my afternoon productivity way higher than if I miss it. Life is busy and difficult but the outdoors can and does help.
I suspect that anyone reading this post, knowing that most of my content surrounds this idea of spending a little bit of time outside every day, is probably already on it – you squeeze some natural light and fresh air into your day to day routine in all kinds of ingenious ways. You’re making sure that you get a walk or run from your own front door every day, and that you stand in your back garden and take a few deep breaths to get away from the computer screen at least once an hour. Brilliant. Hopefully through the GetOutside campaign in 2020 we can reach even more people and encourage them to join us.
I think I’ll finish this post with an invitation. It’s the first day of April; will you spend a little bit of time outside “with me” every day this month? The whole month? The current rules are strict but getting outside is still very much recommended and needed (read this post). It doesn’t have to be a full One Hour Outside; it could be a short 20 minute walk from your own front door, time sitting in your garden with a book, or a few minutes stood at your back door watching the world go by. Whatever you do, however long it lasts, come over to twitter or instagram and tell me about it using #GetOutside and #OneHourOutside – I’d love to hear how outdoorsy your 2020 becomes – even in lock down.
If you want to find out more about the Ordnance Survey GetOutside campaign and my fellow champions, head over to GetOutside.uk.
In the interests of full disclosure, I have been chosen as a GetOutside Champion and as such will harp on about the #GetOutside campaign a lot. I’m not sponsored, they don’t pay me to write blog posts, but I have signed up as an ambassador and I am proud of that.