It is your hour of freedom, a chance to get refreshed and rejuvenated, a time to recharge your batteries and let your work troubles fade away. So how do most of us spend our hour lunch breaks at work? Typically curled up on a couch relaxing with a good read or by simply sitting. The problem with spending an hour of time during your break sitting in a sedentary position, is that most likely you already spend the majority of the day in a seated position while working. And, the problem with sitting for extended periods of time? Quite simply put: your health.
Sitting for long periods of time has been proven to cause work related aches and pains including lumbar pain, neck pain, upper back pain, repetitive stress injuries, fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome. These aches can happen due to a number of different reasons including not sitting with proper posture, sitting in a poorly designed chair, sitting in a chair that is too big/too small for your frame, sitting for extended periods of time, sitting in the same position, and lack of movement. However the main problem comes down to sitting. Although most of us are required by our employers to sit in our office chairs for the majority of the day, our lunch break is the one time of the day when we have complete freedom to do whatever we please. Instead of sitting we have come up with 7 alternate ways to spend your lunch break.
- Stretch – Even if you do not get a full hour for lunch or are too slammed to even take a break, take a few moments to stand up and stretch. Roll your shoulders back, raise your arms above your head in a full extension, take a quick walk around your office, and shake out your legs. It is best to do this every 1-2 hours, but if your time only permits this during your lunch break, remember to do so.
- Walk – Have some time to spare during your break? Take the opportunity to take a walk around your building, parking lot, or walk instead of drive to eat lunch. Walking will help you take your mind off of your work stresses while helping you stay active.
- Go to an Exercise Class – For some of us, our work carries on even once we leave the office. For others, we usually have other activities planned for after the work day such as running errands or spending time with our families. Consider your hour lunch break as an opportunity to partake in an exercise class to help clear your mind.
- Get a Massage – Sometimes work gets in the way of the little luxuries in life that leave us feeling revitalized and reinvigorated, a massage being one of them. Take an hour out of your work day during your lunch break to work out all the kinks and pains that have been building up in your back and you will feel like a whole new person when you return to work!
- Run – Often after work the last thing we want to do is change into our gym clothes and go on a run. Not only are we already exhausted from the long work day, but it is also a hazard to run in the dark at night. What better time to stretch and re-energize yourself than mid way through the day with a quick run around your office. Bring a pair of gym clothes and running shoes to work and you will be all set to go!
- Try Every Restaurant Within Walking Distance – If you can walk to it, you should try it! Get your exercise in while trying new quaint restaurants and hole in the wall food places that you would never consider going to if you had your car. You never know, you may find your next favorite spot to eat in the process.
- Go to a Park – Pack a lunch and have a picnic at a park nearby. You will get to enjoy being outdoors and away from anything that reminds you of work. After your done, take a stroll around and take in the scenery.
Whether you are taking a walk or exercising during your lunch break, it is important for your health to remain active throughout the day. Even if you are unable to take an hour break, be certain to stretch, get out of your office chair, and move around throughout your work day at least once every 2 hours. So the next time you are thinking about how you can spend your lunch break, consider one of our 7 options!