41.67 Days Outside - The Stage New Westminster

41.67 Days Outside

I grew up in Chilliwack, a very rural city with farmland for miles but I wasn’t exactly an outdoorsman.  My dad used to “torture” my and brother and I by taking long Sunday drives and walks in the woods. He would stop and point at some tree, or some mountain and comment about how the light was falling and which Bob Ross techniques could be used to capture such a breathtaking scene.

My brother and I didn’t have iPhones, nor would my dad have allowed them on such an excursion, so we would trudge along, nodding in agreement, counting the minutes until we were back in the car anxious to get home and “relax” after that day’s “hard work”. (Wow did we have it backward)

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started to truly appreciate what my dad was sharing with us. He’s not a sentimental man in the way of sharing deep feelings, but in those moments he is a connected man. An appreciative man who, for the busy life he leads, can still appreciate the stillness of nature and all the ailments it can treat. I find myself now taking drives through Chilliwack when I can, or stopping at the side of the road just to get out of the car, take in the scenery, take in some fresh air and clear my head, even if just for a minute.

Now, living in the city, I miss the access to nature that I had as a child. I wish I had taken more time to enjoy the vast outdoor space around my parents house as it was free, close and safe. And I’ve told myself that if I ever have children I’m going to make them basically live outside…for health and happiness…and I imagine it helps keep the house clean? Maybe? No?!

I stumbled upon this concept when looking for further reading after finishing “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” by Stuart Brown M.D. (an excellent read if you get an opportunity).

1000 Hours Outside supports the idea that the more time we spend outside, adults and children alike, the healthier and happier we will be. The more connected we will be to this place we call home and the more likely we will be to fight for our environmental stability in the future.

Now, for as much as I love the idea of this program, I can’t help but ask myself the practicality of taking on such a challenge. Is something like this even possible in an urban cityscape? Is the inconvenience of managing 1000 hours much like going to the gym…we know we should make time for it…but as long as we get the bare minimum we should be okay…right? What is our bare minimum of outside time?

Somedays all I get is the walk to and from my car. Other days I get an hour long walk in…but even if I did that every day that’s still only 365 hours! (Thank goodness for Leap Years when I get 366)

The website (http://1000hoursoutside.comdiscusses numerous benefits to increased outdoor play time for all human beings, not just children. But given that child development and education is a passion of mine I can’t help but think how hugely beneficial a challenge like this would be for the youth in our community.

Does your city-living family embrace outdoor time? If so how? and where? And how many hours do you think you log in a given week?

Would ever considering taking on the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge?

It’s a challenge that I think I’d love to try but really wonder how anyone in the modern world could make it work!

(If I move my office to my patio that counts right?)

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