Insight Update

Britons spend just six hours a week outdoors in the winter months

An open water swimwear brand has discovered that Britons are likely to spend less than an hour outdoors each day when it’s cold, equating to just six hours and four minutes each week.

They don’t like the cold and wet weather, how dark it gets earlier in the day or they suffer with seasonal affective disorder. What’s more, those who do go out at the weekends only do because they don’t want to feel as though they’ve wasted a day.

With the night’s drawing in and daylight hours getting shorter, Britons veer away from being outdoors compared to the summer months. The majority will go to work in the dark and leave work in the dark and a new study shows that Britons will spend less than one hour a day outdoors during the cold winter months.

The study was carried out by open water swimwear brand Selkie Swim Co in a bid to find out how much time Britons are spending outdoors in the colder months. 2,154 UK residents over the age of 18 were quizzed on their outdoor activities and how the weather impacts this.

Initially all respondents were asked how long they estimated that they spend outdoors each day, with the average found to be 52 minutes, equating to just six hours and four minutes per week. When respondents were asked what it was they were going outside for, the top reasons for going outside were found to be ‘I walk to and from my car to get to work and back’ (46 per cent), ‘I sometimes go out on my lunch break at work’ (28 per cent) and ‘dropping the kids to and from school’ (14 per cent).

Respondents were then asked to detail their reasons for not venturing outside over the autumn/winter months, with the below reasons coming out on top:

1 I don’t like the cold/wet weather – 36%
2 It’s too dark – 24%
3 Winter depression (SAD) makes me want to stay in – 15%
4 There are less things to do in the winter/colder months – 10%
5 The roads are more dangerous– 8%

Over half of those who complained that it was too cold to go outside admitted that they didn’t own either a hat or a scarf (56 per cent), with a further one in three (32 per cent) admitting that their coats weren’t designed for the colder weather.

When asked if they were more likely to go outside during the week or at the weekend, 69 per cent stated that they were most likely to go out and about at the weekend, whether that was ‘socialising’ (37 per cent), ‘shopping’ (31 per cent) or ‘visiting an attraction’ (24 per cent).

Asked if they’d rather stay indoors in the warm or go out and socialise, go shopping or visit an attraction, 72 per cent confessed they’d quite happily stay indoors in the warm, with 48 per cent of those admitting they only went out so they didn’t feel as though they’d wasted their day.

Jeremy Laming, co-founder of Selkie Swim Co, said: “It really is important to not let the shorter days have an effect on your daily exercise and activities; staying indoors could make things like winter depression worse.

“Going for walks on the weekends with friends and family is always beneficial, even if it’s around your local city centre, to your local park or down the road to the shops. Even an outdoor swim in the cold water can help boost your immune system and mental health – although we know that’s not for everyone this time of year.”

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