One Hour Outside (#OneHourOutside) is my idea/challenge/project to get you outside more – for quite simply, although not limited to, 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!).
Many people will tell you that you never look back on life and remember the time you spent in the office, or the time you got up early to fold up all the washing, and especially not the time you spent all day watching whatever must-see television series was on at the time. It’s the time spent outside that we remember. And it’s so true. Even as an adult, it is the time spent outside in the fresh air, the views and the experiences that being outside lead to are what I remember more than anything else.
One Hour Outside was born the moment that I spat my tea across the meeting room at Ordnance Survey headquarters just about a year ago. I did my best not to spit my tea out, you understand, but I’m not sure I managed it, I may have dribbled a little. I’d gone to meet the team at Ordnance Survey and was listening to a presentation on their GetOutside project, a campaign to encourage the people of Great Britain to spend more time outside, for which I am now a very proud champion, and have been for four years.
The tea spitting was all down to some research Ordnance Survey shared. Did you know that a quarter of people in the UK feel that a 15-minute walk is too far and they will take the car instead? Wow. Fifteen minutes is too long? If the shop is more than half a mile away people get in the car to get milk or bread or eggs? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. 15-minutes is nothing, walking for 15-minutes doesn’t take a great deal of effort, even in the rain. But no, this research showed that people are so used to being inside – using online delivery or jumping in the car – that 15-minutes had become something of an upper limit to many.
And then of course there is the very recent news story about the fact that the majority of those aged 40-60 walk briskly, that is at around three miles an hour, for less than ten minutes each month. Ten minutes a month?! Not a day. Not a week. Ten minutes a month.
With One Hour Outside I am trying to encourage people to leave the comfort of their desk or sofa or kitchen and go outside for a little bit of time every single day. It might be before work, at lunch time, or in the evening. It might be walking, cycling, or indeed sitting. It might involve running errands, it might involve eating. It might even involve going on an expedition, playing a team sport or doing something you have never done before. Whatever it is, it always involves being outside. Through this I am trying to say two things; first, that we all have time to get outside into the fresh air and natural light. And second, that spending time outside is for all of us, regardless of fitness, life goals, or perceived level of adventure.
There are so many things to do outside there will always be something that will take an hour or more close to where you are. I know some cost money, but many don’t. You just have to look out for the opportunities. And believe me, once you’ve started looking the ideas will keep coming.
We spend so much time underneath a ceiling that closes out the sky. With walls around us where you can’t smell what’s outside, where the breeze is kept from touching us. You might not even know if it is day or if it is night. And it’s good to have shelter, it’s good to have a roof. But by never allowing the sky to be our cover we are missing out. We should be outside, beyond the walls, where we can smell, feel, hear, and touch the real world.
For me, getting outside, spending time in the countryside – whether it be hauling my somewhat unfit body up a big hill, removing my shoes and socks for a paddle in the cold ocean, or finding a quiet spot to enjoy a moment to myself and a flask of tea, is all about seeing the views with my own eyes. Rivers and trees and rolling hills and the ocean, especially the ocean, and cloudy skies and wildlife and everything else, look great in the photographs. But they’re even more amazing in person. And I live to see as many views with my own eyes as possible.
One Hour Outside. Every day.
It doesn’t have to be way out there, it can be in your own town or garden.
It could be your job, your commute, or happen to fit in with your current daily routine.
It can be from your own front door, or your office door, or the door of your car service centre when you’re getting new tyres or an oil change.
It doesn’t have to involve specialist equipment. Although make sure you know when it should.
It can be an adventure. But you don’t have to push your limits, crawl on your knees, or work so hard you’re aching the next day.
You just have to go out there and experience the outdoors in your own way.
Spend one hour outside. Not because it’s pleasant and happy, even though it is, but because that’s where the meat of life is. You will soon notice the difference it makes. Get more from life with fresh air and natural light – not to mention those views that you cannot fail but fall in love with.