Anyone Can Get Outside

Excuses – I’ve heard them all!

I’m too old, I’m too over weight, I’m chairbound, I don’t have the time – these are just some of the excuses I have come across when talking to people in general about getting outside and enjoying the fresh air.  But remember, these are excuses for not getting outside – not reasons – just excuses.

I have recently had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champions for 2018.  Sixty individuals or family groups were selected from over 800 applicants and between them they represent most facets of outdoor adventurous life.  But more importantly they represent a full cross-section of age and ability.

me and kenton
The author with Kenton Cool 12 time Everest summiteer (Photo credit Lisa Wells)
me and ben selfie
Cheeky selfie with Ben Fogle

Getting outside and walking is not elitist, it is there for everyone, it is an inclusive pastime where no matter how old, overweight or able you are you can take part.  During the two-day launch I met young children, ultra runners, long distance walkers, mountaineers, foragers and crafters, teachers and a wide range of different physical and mental abilities.  But each of them were unique in their own inimitable way.
But no matter what personal demon they carried they all enjoyed the outdoor life.  In the words of London & Rio Paralympic GB cyclist and athlete and fellow #GetOutside Champion, Mel Nicholls,

“my disability does not define me, I define me – out there defines me”

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Mel Nicholls (photo credit Jessie Leong)

Regular readers will know that I had a stroke about 4 years ago, suffer from arthritis and severe back pain but have adapted the way I posture myself to be able to walk the hills of southern England and Wales.  Even having put on a couple of stone due to poor health at the end of 2017, I am still out there walking most weeks.

We are surrounded with news reports and magazine articles extolling the virtues of walking as a means of:

  • Slowing or reducing the onset of diseases like Dementia or Diabetes
  • Helping to improve the lifestyle of those already suffering from those types of illnesses
  • Helping to overcome the serious issues associated with depression and other mental health issues
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I think this lot sums up the effect the outdoors can have on your mood (photo Jessie Leong)

What I am getting at is that it does not matter if you are a multiple Everest summiteer, wheel chair bound, over weight, in poor health both physically and mentally.  You can still get out there and enjoy a walk whether it is just the local shops or the local hill.

Remember only you can define you – nobody else, just you.  Do not hid behind an illness, disability, a weight issue.  Look at these as challenges not obstacles, waiting to be conquered.  Make 2018 the year of change, even if it is just to walk to the local shops, or stroll around the local park.  If you do nothing else this year, at least try to get outside 2-3 times a week.  You never know you may just enjoy it.

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The Crazy Gang (photo Andy Dodd)
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The Champions come from a wide spectrum of people but all love being involved with the Ordnance Survey (photo Andy Dodd & Drone)

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