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Top Tips for Improving Your Health During Your Lunch Breaks


Whether you have an hour or just a few minutes for your lunch break during your working day, you can make the most of this time to down tools and use the time to do much more than eat a quick sandwich.

Spend a minute belly breathing

Before you have your actual lunch, take the time to ensure sixty seconds of diaphragmatic breathing.  This will help to lower your cortisol levels before you start to eat.

Belly breathing helps you to manage stress throughout the day as well as preparing your gut for its digesting workload by activating the parasympathetic nervous system - often better known as the "rest and digest" state.

At the same time, belly breathing massages the stomach and intestine, helping to minimise uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating.

How to belly breathe?

  1. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly, just below your rib cage.
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air in deeply, towards your lower belly.
  3. The hand on your chest should remain still, while the one on your belly should rise.
  4. Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips.
  5. Your belly should deflate.


Do leg raises at your desk

These can be done during your lunch break or in fact whenever you manage a short break during your working day.

Use the time to get your heart rate up, to stretch or to build strength.  Muscle strength is important especially as you age - and a resistance band is a useful tool to do some low key resistance training.  One suggestion is to loop a band over your leg while your are researching or reading at your laptop, and do leg raises to build your quad strength.

The problem is that we were never designed to sit on a chair or at a desk all day long.  When we do, it can become a vicious cycle of pain, avoiding physical activity and then the less you do, the more physically deconditioned you become and the more likely you are to experience pain.

So much better to keep moving! 


Take a walk around a favorite spot outdoors

This is especially important if you work from home either all or some of the time.  You should make a conscious effort to go outside and, if you are fortunate enough to have a garden or other outside space, make the most of it.  Here you can detach yourself for a few minutes at a time from the emails, information and the processing of data that keeps coming and takes up a lot of your brain's energy.

Such detachment gives your brain a chance to play with what it has taken in and may even lead to new ideas or solutions for problems.


Network with others for fresh ideas

From time to time, take a real lunch break and meet up with colleagues, go somewhere more special to eat and then pick their brains! 

You can share ideas and share challenges when you use this lunch break to both network and refuel your body.


Make sure to eat at lunch

What you eat during your lunch break is all important too.  Make the effort to avoid any high sugar food, it can make your feel sluggish during the afternoon that follows as well as not being a good idea for your health. 

Your lunch should be full of as many healthy ingredients as possible, avoiding anything ultra-processed. 

Your lunch should make you feel that you have got away from your desk and had a proper break from work. 



 8 Scientifically Proven Ways to Maximize Your Lunch Break (buffer.com)