Sarah Swallow One Hour A Day Challenge

The 30 Day, One Hour A Day Challenge...inspiration from Sarah Swallow

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Last year I stumbled across the One hour a day challenge (#onehouradaychallenge) on Instagram. I can say for sure, it was just what I needed at the time... life felt stagnant, like I was just going through the motions, and I was not spending nearly as much time on my bike as I should. 

Enter the One Hour a Day Challenge! I read Sarah's post, challenging people to ride their bikes for an hour a day, for 30 days in a row. The part that I liked the most about this, was that she was doing this for personal accountability (on her end), and at the same time, sharing something very inspiring and healthy with others. It's refreshing to see this type of content shared on social media.

No, I did not ride for an hour a day, for 30 days in a row. Some days I rode longer, and others for less. And some days, I just walked the dogs for an hour. I did however find that what I was originally procrastinating as an hour of exercise, became the highlight of day — the only ride you regret doing, is the one you didn't do! 

Whether it was a deep red sunset over Sleeping Giant, fading in the midst of monsoonal storm clouds, or that familiar and hygge inspiring feel of riding up Buffalo Pass, these were things I probably would not have been experiencing if it were not for this challenge! 

Steamboat Springs Sunset
We emailed a few questions to Sarah, in hopes that she could inform and inspire people to participate in this hardy, yet fulfilling challenge.
We encourage you to create a challenge of your own, whatever that may be, and start the New Year off in the right direction!

1. What is the One hour a day challenge, and why does it exist?
 The 30-day, One-hour-a-day Challenge is a personal challenge to move your body outside for at least one hour every day for 30 days straight. To stay accountable, I encourage folks to post a photo from their outdoor time to social media with the hashtag #onehouradaychallenge. The challenge exists as a habit-forming method to maintain a healthy work-life balance, mental health, self-care, and fitness.

2. When did you first do it? Was it for training purposes, personal reasons, or all of the above?
I first did this challenge while training for the Tour Divide in 2020. At the time, I wanted to condition my body to get used to riding my bike every day, rain or shine, for 30-days. In 2022, I started the challenge again, although it was for mental health and work-life balance this time. I had a month heavily loaded with office work and other obligations that gave me too many excuses not to prioritize time for myself each day, so I started the challenge to ensure I took care of myself. Since I knew I needed some accountability, I posted what I was doing on social media. Loads of other people were struggling with the same thing in one way or another, and many folks joined me on the challenge or did it on their own time. 

3. What benefits does the one hour a day challenge offer to someone, particularly in the discipline of cycling?
The challenge is an excellent way to condition one's body to the bicycle, whether you are entirely new to the sport or getting ready for a multi-day bike ride. I always tried to do a different ride each time, so the challenge allowed me to explore new places close to home. Lastly, prioritizing that time for myself made me feel good, productive, and more focused throughout the day. 

4. When did you first share the challenge with others? What was the feedback like?
The first time I publicly shared the challenge was in the summer of 2022. At the time, I only shared the challenge because I needed accountability, but it turned out that loads of other folks were looking for an easy habit-building challenge, and tons of folks joined me for the challenge. 

5. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
In the past, I have focused my one-hour-a-day challenge on just riding my bike. However, to have a healthy balance, it's good to have some variety and not always do the same exercise every day. So, I encourage folks to move their bodies; go for a ride, a run, a swim, a walk, whatever makes sense. Lastly, get your hour per day in as early as possible to enjoy the benefits it has on your day. When you wait until later in the day, it takes up space in your mind as something you still have to do on top of all the other things you have to do, and you become less motivated later in the day. So, prioritize yourself first and get it done early. 

Sarah Swallow Adventure Cyclist
Sarah, thanks for taking time out of your busy life to reply back to us and answer these questions. Happy New Year — ride on!

 Photo credit courtesy of Wild Child Media.
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