9 reasons why you should leave your desk for lunch by Goodhealth

9 reasons why you should leave your desk for lunch

September 1, 2023

It's tempting to stay put at your desk for lunch, especially when you have plenty of work to do. However, it is well worth it to step out of the office, or even just out of your chair.

1. You will come back in a better mood. 

Stepping out for a walk in the summer is a great way to get a natural dose of Vitamin D from the sun. Why’s this important? Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin required for bone, immune, and cardiovascular health. The sun doesn’t just provide vitamin D3, it supports our circadian rhythm and hormonal health. The wintertime is an even better time to get some sensible sun exposure throughout the day.

2. Taking a break facilitates productivity. 

Taking breaks will make you more productive because it refreshes your mind and body, plus it gives you time to collect your thoughts.

3. You’ll have more energy.

Taking a lunch break away from the office and work desk helps to reduce fatigue and improve energy levels. Moving your body gets oxygen to your muscles and brain. The more oxygen to these tissues, the more clearly you are able to think. Who doesn’t want to feel less fatigued?

4. Your body needs nutrient dense fuel.

If you stay at your desk, you are less likely to take a decent break or eat a proper, healthy lunch.  Eating the right food provides your body with the fuel it requires to function optimally.  Staying at your desk means you get busy and can miss lunch altogether, and without food, you get agitated, shaky, irritable, and lose focus. Your body is like an engine that needs fuel and nutrients to function.

5. A change in scenery boosts creativity.

A change of scenery can mean you come back refreshed and clear-headed. This enables you to think through issues more efficiently.

6. Staying put is bad for your digestion.

If you’re eating while you work, you’re not concentrating on what or how much you are eating. Consequently, you are more likely to be stressed, which results in poor digestion. In order to digest food properly, we need to be in a relaxed state so that the parasympathetic nervous system can operate optimally. When we are feeling stressed, the body goes into a different state where the sympathetic nervous system kicks in. Also known as the fight, freeze, or flight response, being in a state of stress while we eat means we are more likely to suffer from bloating, wind, and heart burn because our blood supply is diverted away from digestion to the brain, heart, and muscle.

7. It is good for your posture.

Sitting slumped at the office desk all day in front of the computer causes tight muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back, and leads to inactivity of your legs.  We are not made for sitting all day, so taking a break for food and a walk helps us be mindful of keeping straight and strong.

8. To avoid mindless eating and weight gain.

Eating at your desk means you are not concentrating on eating; you are focusing on working and can fall into the trap of overeating. It’s important not to eat for the sake of it, and only to nourish yourself.

9. You could use this time to exercise.

Use your lunch break to support weight management and metabolism.  It’s also a good way to ensure you reach 10,000 steps a day. Exercise also supports blood sugar levels because your muscle mass is a glucose sink. In many cases you are sitting at your desk for up to 8 hours a day so it’s good to get out and about where possible.

Long story, short? Take a lunch break – even if you’re busy, you’ll get more done. It is better to measure your work by productivity rather than just face time. Working smarter not harder will give you more time for all the other things that are important to you.