What’s the #GetOutside hash tag all about?

Forest with wooden bridge - #getoutside Dennis MapsOne of our major clients here at Dennis Maps is Ordnance Survey, whose maps have been guiding us around the British countryside for generations. Now the Ordnance Survey campaign #GetOutside is encouraging more of us to get out into the open air and take off for an adventure.

The physical and mental health benefits of being outside in nature are indisputable. Research by the University of Michigan revealed that it helps us to relax, increases attention span and improves memory. Stanford University found it reduces stress and symptoms of depression.

A study in Sweden discovered that hospital patients who could see trees from their window needed less medication and had much better recovery rates.

In Japan doctors prescribe ‘shinrin-yoku’ or forest bathing to patients. It’s been scientifically proved that spending time sitting and walking in the forest has many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, boosting the immune system, increasing energy and reducing anxiety and anger.

We all instinctively know we feel better for a spell outside in nature, but how do you change habits and start to make time outdoors a regular feature of your life?

Compass and map #getoutside

The Beginner’s Guides on the Ordnance Survey website provide lots of ideas on where to go and what to do. Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before, there are guides to help you learn to use a compass, understand map contour lines and map scales, read grid references and much more.

Plus there’s a huge range of suggestions for what to do in the great outdoors, from walking, cycling and climbing, to water sports and camping. Did you know that Dartmoor is the only place in England where you are legally allowed to wild camp?

There are 15 National Parks in Britain, from the rugged Cairngorms in Scotland to Exmoor in South West England, the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in South Wales to the Norfolk Broads. They were designated back in the early 1950s to preserve their natural beauty and provide recreational opportunities for the public.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to drive for miles from an urban area to the countryside. The new OS Greenspace map layer is a new way to discover green spaces right on your doorstep.

Available in both the web and app versions of OS Maps, it shows you where to find parks, playing fields, allotments, and other publicly accessible places where you can reconnect with nature.

In every region of Britain #GetOutside Champions, experienced adventurers from the worlds of sport, TV and journalism, are offering their own advice on getting out and about. Ben Fogle, for example, who is well-known for his adventures here and abroad, including rowing the Atlantic, and presents TV programmes about the countryside.

Wheelchair race #getoutsideYou might think only the able-bodied can participate in #GetOutside. Think again! Mel Nicholls is an endurance wheelchair racer and paracyclist, and is currently training for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She also enjoys sports like sea swimming and climbing, and wants to encourage anyone with a disability barrier to become active outside.

If you’re stuck for where to start there are plenty of ideas on the Adventures page, with routes graded according to difficulty with detailed directions and photos so you can see the terrain you’ll cover, in both town and country.

You can also find suggestions for activities suitable for all the family, places to visit and special events to attend. And don’t forget to follow #GetOutside on Instagram and Twitter to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and share your own tips and experiences.

 

Forest photo by Ahmad Kadhim on Unsplash

Compass photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash

Wheelchair photo by Ariel Pilotto on Unsplash