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Posted 8 June 2010
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A study reveals we’re a nation trapped indoors, who’ve never stood on a mountain (40%), been on a horse (50%) or swam in natural water (41%).  85% of UK landscape is fresh green fields, lakes and beautiful mountains, but in the last year over a quarter of us haven’t had fresh air in our lungs and a fifth haven’t even walked on a natural surface.

The report and research commissioned by GO Outdoors shows that whilst three quarters of us like the outdoors, huge numbers have never tried the simplest activities due to never having been given the opportunity (59%) and a third have been too scared to try (33%).

However, in spite of a fifth of us never getting to the countryside and 10% admitting they spend most time on their sofa, half of us have actually hill walked (54%) have used a compass (53%) and over 70% have spent a night sleeping under the stars. 

Keeping ourselves indoors is having a drastic effect on our wellbeing according to experts.

Dr Victor Thompson, sports psychologist and adrenalin expert commented on the results

“Getting outdoors is vital for maximising our quality of life and as an antidote to our urban, stressful environments. It is proven that physical exertion outdoors can reduce incidence of heart disease, depression, joint aches, digestion, diabetes and of people’s perceived wellbeing so freeing people to experience the world beyond their sofa is incredibly important.”

“A life of on the sofa is incomprehensible to adrenaline junkies who go out of their way to get that physical and psychological stimulation that comes with the high of extreme sports. For these active people, life is experienced in high-definition colour and sharp focus when rock climbing, parachuting, white-water rafting or a range of other challenging pursuits.”

The Fear Factor

Fear is the biggest barrier to getting outdoors for the youngest surveyed: 57% of 18 – 24 year olds cited it as the reason they hadn’t tried new things.  This fear drops to 19% in our go getting twenties though, and by the time we reach our 40s is just 10%.  Geographically, however, it’s Londoners who are the most scared of failing in the outdoors.


One in ten English residents have never crossed a border into Scotland, Wales or Ireland – and whilst just a third of the Welsh have strayed into England, 47% of Irish and a strong 92% of the Scots have followed. A whole third of UK residents have never been on an aeroplane!

Sex and Rollercoasters

Whilst one in five of us (18%) say their last adrenalin rush was in the great outdoors, we are relying on sex (17%) and rollercoasters (13.7%) to get us excited otherwise.  With the world cup fast approaching, 10% of boys actually said their last thrill was watching a game (not playing!) and more girls (18%) got a flush from romance than any other activity. 

Invest in Adventure!

47% of those surveyed said they were more productive at work if they’d been adventurous outside on the weekend – however, 24% had never had a weekend adventure in their lives.  Despite this fact, just 12% of bosses encourage outdoor pursuits in the UK, with the best “investors in adventure” being the Welsh workplaces (18% encouraged outdoor pursuits) with those in Electronics (31%) the best served.

The Outdoor Type?

31% of the UK lie about their outdoorsy prowess in order to impress. Men do this more than women (40% compared to 26%) and the Welsh are the worst for fibbing about their adventures (52%!).  27% lie in CVs and interviews and 32% have lied about their activities in the wild to show off on a date.

Her Indoors

Men want their girls to get out more – 35% wish their partner was more active compared to 25% of women wishing the same.  The West Midlands have the most disappointing partners overall with 35% in the area wishing their partner would get more active compared to a national average of 29%.

John Graham, MD of GO Outdoors and self confessed adrenalin junkie agrees wholeheartedly,

“We wanted to understand what was preventing Brits from getting outdoors and having fun.  When we realised the primary reasons are fear and lack of opportunity it inspired us to invite people to our stores to speak to our team of expert staff, get into a new activity and try something new.  Anyone can come into our stores, or contact us online via Twitter or our Facebook Page where we will try to answer any of those questions you may have.

So forget your fear!  We’ve endeavoured to create a really comfortable, friendly environment where customers of any age can come and learn about equipping themselves safely for the outdoors without feeling intimidated.”