November is a notoriously cold, dark and damp month. The position of November in the Gregorian calendar means that those of us here in the UK get short days, dark mornings and evenings, often poor – wet and windy – weather, and as a result can feel a little bit miserable. Add to that the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and you would be completely forgiven for wanting to hibernate between layers of fleece blanket in front of the television for the next few weeks.
In the spirit of going and doing something positive rather than wallowing in what the inevitable weather might have us feel, my One Hour Outside in November challenge returns, to encourage us all to spend a little bit of time outside every day and make more of our time this month.
We all know that getting outside is good for us. There are so many reasons why we should be making an effort to spend as much time outdoors as possible – fresh air and natural light is good for our body, our mind, and possibly most importantly, our soul. But how good are we at making sure we get time outdoors every day?
Even with covid-associated restrictions and different levels of lock down, the outdoors is still open. We are all allowed – encouraged – to go outside for fresh air and exercise. And we should.
Even as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion, I don’t always manage to spend more than a handful of minutes without a roof over my head in each 24-hour period. It’s hard, thanks to the dark, damp, cold, and endless list of things to do that involve being sat at a computer.
One Hour Outside (#OneHourOutside) is my project / idea / challenge / campaign to get you outside more – quite simply, for one hour every day. I want to encourage people to spend a little bit of time outside, in the fresh air and natural light, on a daily basis. Yes, whatever the weather.
Your challenge, no, your mission (should you choose to accept it…) is very simple:
Spend at least One Hour Outside every day in November.
It sounds very easy. I’ve run this challenge for the last six years, and I can tell you that some days it will be way harder than any of us would like it to be. Which is why I think it deserves the commitment of a month-long challenge.
The One Hour Outside Challenge
One Hour Outside is about spending at least One Hour Outside every day in November.
While some of you may already find this super easy thanks to your line of work or the fact your dog insists on going for a walk each day, the vast majority of people have to actually make a conscious decision to go out, and it’s often easier to not bother. This challenge asks you to bother.
It doesn’t matter what you do in your hour – walk, run, cycle, skateboard, run errands, go geocaching, climb trees, get out on a lake in a boat, go fishing, sit and drink a flask of tea while your kids play in the park, sleep under the stars, or anything else that takes your fancy. As I hope I demonstrated in my GetOutside Activity Challenge last year, there are SO many activities to choose from.
Of course this year we have the added complication that some activities might not be feasible, and some of us may not be allowed to travel in order to walk at a popular beauty spot, but there are still options open to us.
The only rule is there is no carrying over of time. You should be getting at least one hour outside each and every day… This isn’t about spending seven hours outside on a Saturday on a hike in the countryside and then doing nothing for the next six days. Do that full day hike by all means, I am hoping to get in at least a couple during the month, but it’s still only one day ticked off.
I’d love it if you were to use this challenge as an opportunity to make a habit of getting outside every single day. Do it at lunchtime, do it on your commute, go for a walk after dinner in the evening, or maybe you’re one of those people who can fit your hour in before breakfast. It doesn’t matter. As long as by the time you slide under the duvet each night you can answer that important question “did I spend an hour outside today?” with a positive YES.
You’ve got a few days to work out how you’re going to fit One Hour Outside in every day as it’s not November just yet. Put a few fun things in the diary, arrange to meet up with friends if restrictions allow, make a list of things you’d quite like to do or places you’d like to go (there are some useful ideas here), have a look at your local OS Map (start here, the greenspaces layer is free to all) and get a few lunch time walking routes planned, and get yourself prepared and ready.
Let’s make November our month of the outside, and see what a difference it makes to our body, mind and soul. Turn what is often a dark and difficult month into one full of fresh air, clear heads and lots of energy.
And because we know that if you agree to a challenge in a public space you have to do it, comment below to let me know you’re in, or give me a shout over on twitter. Let’s spread the word and make getting outside normal again, more of a habit and less of an occasion. I’ll do my best to encourage you throughout November if you promise to encourage me to!
If you really want to commit, you can even BUY THE TSHIRT (or jumper…) – get one now to wear to show you are taking part, or treat yourself at the end of November when you’ve smashed the challenge.
Let’s change our November from dark and damp to being full of outdoors fun. One hour at a time!