Rebecca Burgess  |  1/13/2023

1000 Hours Outside Challenge

Everyone knows fresh air is good for you, but it is hard to consolidate just how good time spent outside can be for you. It is good for your mental and physical health in many ways.

Since I was a young child, I have always enjoyed being outdoors. As a kid, I lived on a 7-acre piece of property that was mainly wooded, and I would spend hours outside designing tree forts, running around with friends and even making my share of mud pies. At some point in adulthood, I lost that ingrained desire to do as many daily activities outside as possible. I remember when I was in college, and on the first nice spring day, you couldn’t find a spot to sit in the quad because everyone wanted to study outside.

When the marketing team at CalvertHealth decided to challenge the community to the 1000 hours outside challenge, I was immediately intrigued. As the Marketing and Events Manager for the hospital, I am usually acutely aware of the various activities available on campus. Still, this one interested me more as it involved the whole family.

When COVID hit in 2020, I started walking my neighborhood 5-6 days a week as a way to get out of the house. I was pregnant then and loved that it filled so many of my ‘buckets.’ I noticed being less stressed, I felt better overall, and I even got to know a few of my neighbors. Almost three years later, and while I still enjoy taking my almost daily walks around the neighborhood, I now have two children, a two-year-old and a 9-month-old, but we go as often as possible. I love the idea of this challenge because I want to make a conscious effort to do more things outside. Winter brings with it more screen time than normal and less time doing daily activities outside.

To be honest, though, I am nervous about this challenge. I am a full-time working mom. I’m taking classes towards a master’s degree, and my husband works evenings, so I usually solo parent when I am home with the kids. In light of this and also to get a better idea of how much time we are all spending outside, I am taking a twofold approach to this challenge. I have a personal goal to reach 1000 hours outside, but I am also planning to count my children’s time separately. I can do things like eat my lunch outside, take a meeting outside, go for a walk before work and more that wouldn’t involve my kids. However, my husband can also take them outside to play or eat during the day when I am not able to participate. In a perfect world, our efforts will meet in the middle and average out to about the same amount of outside time during the week/month/year.

Lastly, I wanted to share my plan of attack when looking at what can be an overwhelming task of spending 2.7 hours per day of being outside. First, during the weekends, we will do at least one long activity outside a day, ideally four or more hours. During the week, we will either play outside or go for a walk every day possible. As the weather and sunset time cooperate, we will start eating more meals outside. I know that once the weather improves, we will be able to easily get more time outside, so in the meantime, my goal is to spend at least an hour or two a day outside and work our way up from there.

I hope this helps, and I look forward to sharing my family’s journey of spending 1000 hours outside in 2023!

First month update - see the new blog post: First Month Update
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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Way to go Becca! Love you & the kiddos so much.

Mary Golway
Monday, January 23, 2023

Great way to kick this off, Becca! Love the story and the pictures!

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