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Take back your lunch break

Beki Cadd By Beki Cadd

GetOutside Champion Beki Cadd explores ways that you can make your lunch break more rewarding while at the same time, improving your work place health.

“I don’t have time for a lunch hour.” “I’ve got so much to do, I just can’t afford to take a break.”

Flowers in the city

Every day, lots of people will sit at their desks with these thoughts running through their heads, opting instead to power through with their to-do lists and inboxes full of emails.

However, while working straight through lunch and cramming in a sandwich may provide you with more time, it does nothing for the quality of your work, not to mention your mental and physical wellbeing.

Studies have shown that taking time to #GetOutside during the day boosts your mood, making you happier and more productive once you do return to your desk.

It gives your brain some downtime, or time to process what you did that morning, and then feel rejuvenated and refreshed for those tasks you need to tackle during the afternoon.

Even though for most office jobs lunch breaks are unpaid, there is still a sense that people feel they will get told off for taking time out off the office and ‘wasting working time’. But a happy, healthier workforce will ultimately benefit employers too and even if you’re unable to take a full lunch hour, just 15 minutes outside getting some fresh air will have an impact – creativity and innovation happen when people change their environments, and its hard to feel positive about a job when you are chained to your desk!

You don’t necessarily have to be out in the mountains or discovering the wilds of the country either - there’s a common misconception that there’s nowhere to get outside in a City.

However, if you take the time to explore, there are lots of hidden green spaces to discover and you may see things that you didn’t even know were there.

Local parks

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to walk, jog, perform some outdoor yoga, or just sit and eat your packed lunch, local parks are a great way to get away from the office and the busy, polluted streets of a City.

In London, there are the larger Royal Parks such as Regents Park, Green Park and Hyde Park to explore, but it’s possible to also find smaller, quieter little greenspaces where you can take a breath and admire the blossom before heading back to the office.

GetOutside in local parks
River walks

Canals and rivers

In London the River Thames provides the obvious opportunity to head out for a stroll by the water and watch the tourist boats cruising past.

Getting outside next to water has been shown to have restorative effects, and you can also squeeze in some sightseeing as well! Regent’s Canal is a favourite for many walkers and cyclists due to the wealth of things to see along its length, as well as the benefits of exploring away from the busy roads.

Outdoor gyms and sports pitches

In urban areas especially, there are more opportunities than ever before to get active, try a new sport or improve your skills. From playing fields for football, athletics tracks for running, and sports facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts or table tennis tables, London in particular is packed with options.

Outdoor gyms in local parks also provide the opportunity to work up a sweat and get the endorphins pumping, guaranteed to give you a sense of achievement when you return to your desk.

Use the free Greenspace layer in OS maps to discover your local greenspaces across Britain and get exploring!

The Sports category is shown in yellow on the layer, and you can also find access points meaning you can easily plot a route from your location to the access point, and follow it on the OS maps app.

Wildlife along the river

Published 26/07/2019

Beki Cadd By Beki Cadd


With a degree in geoscience and a healthy obsession with rocks, she loves getting outside and getting sweaty and muddy.

Follow Beki on Twitter.