At the start of this year, I set out my aim to spend 1000 hours outside. Or at least to attempt to spend 1000 hours outside – or to find out how long I do actually spend outside.
I know I spend a lot of time outside and at first 1000 hours in a year didn’t sound that much. Then I realised it meant spending an average of 2 hours and 45 minutes outside every single day. Even in winter.
I used an app on my phone to track my time outside. It was remarkable how often I forgot to turn it on and off. Luckily, my watch also measures the duration of my runs and I pretty quickly learned the duration of my walks.
Even though I exercise outside three times a day every day (either one run and two walks or three walks), spending 2 hours and 45 minutes outside in January and February wasn’t going to be easy. I have two standard walks I do every day, which I thought were half an hour each. As it turns out, they were only 26 minutes, so I was losing out on eight or 12 minutes a day from the start. On the flip side, I discovered I’m usually outside for a minute before I start running and two minutes after I finish, so that’s an extra three minutes every time I run – adding up to about an hour a month.
It was the very end of February before I reached 2 hours and 45 minutes outside in a single day. We had a couple of warm days and I sat outside eating my lunch. We had a couple of very warm days in March and I ended up spending around four hours outside on both of those days.
Moving into spring, things like hanging the washing on the line, gardening and reading my book in the garden all added to my total hours outside. In the spring and summer, I can’t resist the garden and constantly drift in and out of the house.
At the start of April, we went for our first longer evening walk of the year – because it was actually light enough to do that. We also had a lovely Easter Sunday in the garden. But on the whole April was far colder than usual, which meant I wasn’t spending as much time outside as I usually would.
May started as April had ended – very cold! I was back to putting the central heating on and back to wearing boots, my winter coat and gloves. May then turned extremely wet. So there was no wandering around the garden and eating lunch out there. Instead, I was back to January and February levels of being outside. Although training for and running the Cheltenham Challenge virtual half marathon meant I was spending a bit more time running. May also saw the return of athletics competitions. Athletics competitions always mean lots of time outside and I went to three of them with the kids in May.
In June, the weather suddenly turned. All of a sudden, it was summer. It seemed that we had completely missed out on spring and just jumped from winter to proper hot weather. Which was very good news on many levels, but definitely good for me getting outside more.
Time outside is definitely weather dependent. Of course, we’ve all heard (and probably said) the phrase about there being no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes… But when the weather turned colder and wetter again in the middle of June, my time outside immediately went down. I was still running and walking, but nobody wants to be sat outside reading when it’s 16 degrees, cloudy and windy and you need your coat on!
So am I on track for 1000 hours outside? How long have I spent outside so far this year?
- In January I spent 54 hours and 30 minutes outside
- In February I spent 51 hours and 47 minutes outside
- In March I spent 71 hours and 32 minutes outside
- In April I spent 81 hours and 58 minutes outside
- In May I spent 84 hours and 4 minutes outside
- In June I spent 93 hours and 52 minutes outside
That is a total of 437 hours and 43 minutes.
So at halfway through the year, I’m not quite halfway to 1000 hours. While it certainly doesn’t seem an impossible target, if I’m going to make it to 1000 hours, I will need some good weather for the remainder of the year, particularly during July and August.