We have just had National GetOutside Day, usually a large-scale event in the Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion calendar. Unfortunately, this year was very much scaled back with regard to organised events but still as high profile as ever.
However, in the build up to the event I started thinking about what Getting Outside means to me. Is it really just about walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, running and all the other outdoor pursuits that you can think of? Is it something more?
Maybe it is a sign of passing years, I am 64 next month, but when I was in my teens, twenties, thirties my passions were – hiking rock climbing, mountaineering, surfing, caving (outdoors underground!). Now I have two passions in my life that keep me outdoors – walking and gardening.
Last week I took my wife out for the first time since lockdown in March. No, I have not kept her locked up. She is not able to walk very far and was on the high risk register and has only now just plucked up the courage to go outside. We drove to a high vantage point near us and had a picnic (between the showers!).
During the summer months she would sit by the patio doors and act as my Garden Design Director, helping me set up our new garden for the first time (moved in 2 years ago). She got me to arrange all the pots (no grass or borders in my garden) so that she could enjoy the views from her favourite seat.
So, to go back to the question – What does getting outside mean? To me it means just getting outside and enjoying whatever pursuit you wish to partake in. Whether that is Ultra Running or Gardening or doing whatever you can within the restrictions of your personal ability.
Getting Outside means anything and everything to everyone. Yes, it is important to promote physical exercise but that is not the be all and end all of Getting Outside. It is about enjoyment, fresh air, the warmth of the sun, the feel of the wind, the peace of mind one feels when they away from the confines of their home.
As we approach winter with the risk of further lockdown restrictions, Flu, SADS, cold, wind and rain. It is even more important to take whatever chance you can to get outside, even if it is into the garden for 15 minutes or a walk to the local shops.
Extricating ourselves from the confines of the domestic environment will help us get through the next six long, dark months. Remember you do not have to get all ‘geared’ up to get outside – just put on the wellies, a warm coat and a hat and enjoy the fresh air.