Take on the GO Outdoors 2019 Challenge for a healthier and more memorable year.
Resolutions are great, a new year kicks in and we tell ourselves we must do better, must lose weight, must get fitter, must be more organised etc, but January can be a challenging month for a number of reasons and resolutions often get pushed aside.
In 2019, we’re saying ditch the resolutions and challenge yourself, and we’ve come up with 7 simple challenges that anybody can take part in, no matter what their outdoor experience level is. This list of challenges covers setting goals, pushing yourself and giving back. The best thing about these challenges is that, if you’ve done them once (some of you could probably finish this in January!) then the challenge continues, there are always other options.
Complete some of this list, and you’ll be sure to create some great memories in 2019.
1. Sleep under the stars
It sounds romantic, but for some, this could also sound a little daunting. This challenge is entirely open to your own interpretation. You could literally sleep under the stars and go bivying, go solo and wild camp or you could simply camp in your back garden for the first time, or take the whole family on a camping holiday.
Not keen on the idea of a tent? How about a campervan, glamping or even a night in a bothy? Sleep under the stars is all about ditching the hotel and getting yourself outdoors. If you’re an avid camper already, why not try a different form of camping?
- Try camping for the first time (in the garden, at a festival, a weekend away)
- Try wild camping (Only legal in Scotland and Dartmoor National Park)
- Treat yourself to a Glamping Trip (Only ever stayed in hotels? Why not try a Glamping experience)
- Embrace the van life (Take a trip in a campervan and camp as you go)
2. Reach a Summit
There are probably two types of people reading this one. Those who think it’s easy, and those who are put off by the very idea of climbing a mountain. For some of you, the challenge here will be very literal. You may not have ever climbed a mountain before, it may have been some time, you may be getting fit and want to set yourself a goal to reach. What we will say is, don’t feel like you have to choose one of Britain’s tallest, there are hundreds of ‘mountains’ in the UK for you to aim for, but if you’ve never ascended one before, why not aim for a hill, to begin with?
Check out our list of 15 mountains in the UK that you should climb for a bit of inspiration.
For those of you who have been up mountains before, challenge yourself to a new peak, challenge yourself to take on a challenge such as ‘Munro Bagging’ or challenge yourself to ascend more peaks in 2019 than you did last year.
The most important thing to remember with this challenge is to be prepared. Know your route. Have the right kit. Do the research you need to get up and back down the mountain safely.
- Start small, you don’t need to head up the UK’s tallest. Stay within your fitness levels.
- Do your research, know your route, wear sturdy footwear and be prepared for changeable weather.
- Already climbed a mountain? Why not try somewhere new?
- For the advanced there are also mountain challenges like the three peaks, munro bagging etc.
3. Beat a Personal Best
The best thing about this challenge is that it is entirely personal to you. Your personal best doesn’t need to be world record pace, you’re only competing with yourself to make an improvement.
Whether you’re a runner, walker, cyclist or even climber. Start to track your progress in what you do (Apps such as Strava, MapMyFitness are great for tracking routes and times). Go further, go faster, go higher. Set a goal, and do what you need to do to beat it. Whether you’re looking to beat your half marathon time, or you’re starting out and building up to running 1k.
Competing with yourself is often the best way to stick to fitness goals and there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve done a little better than you’ve done before.
The challenge could see you through the year, every time you’ve beat your personal best, there’s a new goal for you to reach. Best of luck!
- Go further (If you’re new, aim for 5km running, if you regularly do 5km, why not step up to 10km and half marathons?)
- Go faster (Pick a distance, use your tracker to set a time and work on your technique and fitness until you beat that time. Keep track through the year so you can see your improvements).
4. Take Time to Clear your Mind
We all get a little bogged down from time to time. The news and social media can be quite negative, we can take on too much at work and you get yourself in a bit of a rut. For this challenge we urge you to give yourself more time to ease your mind.
There are so many mental health benefits to being outside and getting some fresh air, that changing little habits can have lasting benefits. Go outside during your lunch, take a walk and clear your mind before the afternoon. Ditch the car and cycle or walk to work. Set aside sometime after work for physical activity and clear your mind to help yourself sleep at night.
Step back, take a moment for yourself.
- Go outside during your lunch break rather than sit at your workspace
- Cycle/Walk/run to work if possible
- Take 30mins – 1 hour after work to unwind with a walk, it could clear your mind to help you sleep better.
5. Visit at Least One New National Park
We’re blessed with 15 beautiful National Parks here in the UK that all offer something a little different, their own quirks and their own adventures to be discovered. Chances are that most of us live within a reasonable driving/travelling distance to at least one of these parks, and because we’re creatures of habit we might not go further afield. This year we challenge you to go and discover one of the UK National Parks that you haven’t yet been to.
We’ve covered a number of these in our National Park Guides to give you some ideas of what you can do there.
There is truly something for everyone of every age in a National Park. Whether you’re a walker, camper, climber, cyclist or you want to try your hand at a new outdoor pursuit, discover somewhere new this year.
- Check out https://nationalparks.uk/ to find your next adventure.
6. Bring Back More Than Your Own Litter
Despite the physical nature of some of these challenges, this one is probably the biggest challenge of all. Year after year more people are heading outdoors and that’s great, we absolutely encourage that, but with more people sadly comes more litter.
Our green spaces are ours to look after, no there aren’t bins up mountains, there aren’t bins deep into the trail, it’s up to you to put your litter in a bag in your rucksack until you reach a suitable place to dispose of it. If we all did this, we could go someway to helping to clear up these beautiful outdoor locations.
If you want to do more, then we urge you to bring back a bag of litter from wherever you go. You can also join many clean-up meets through the year in National Parks and mountain areas.
- Bring a bag to bring home your own rubbish (Know there wont always be bins on mountains or deep into trails. If you wonder to yourself who would be able to empty a bin out here, there probably won’t be a bin)
- Take part in clean up meets that happen through the year in national parks, mountains and green spaces. Keep an eye out in your local area.
- Bring an extra bag and bring home more than your own rubbish to help reduce the litter in our green spaces.
7. Inspire Somebody Else to Go Outdoors
Of course, we’re going to encourage you to get outside. It’s what we’re here for. However the people you know will be far more receptive to your encouragement to give something a try.
You may be trying to get the family to try a camping holiday, a parent who wants to spend time outdoors with their kids, somebody that says ‘yes’ when your friend asks if you want to go for a bit of a catch-up, if you know somebody who is struggling with their fitness goals, then why not buddy up?
How often is the main reason that somebody won’t start something new simply because they don’t know where to start, or don’t want to go alone? This year, that’s where you step in.
- Answer the call, catch up with that friend who may need a chat
- Encourage children to enjoy nature
- Help a friend or family member with their fitness goals
- Encourage an unsure family member or friend to try camping
- Offer support to somebody who may be new to a certain activity and looking for some guidance.
- Share your adventures with others (routes, photos etc)
Will you be taking on the challenge? We’d love to see your progress, so share your photos on Instagram or Twitter using the #iGOoutdoors hashtag and let us know how you’re getting on.
Throughout the year we’ll be bringing you inspiration and advise on each of these categories to help you along the way. So check back in as we take a look at each of these challenges in more detail.