7 Good Reasons to Take Your Lunch Break

Avoiding the rushed lunch at your desk can improve your health and your career

Credit: Ed Yourdon

Eating lunch outside can make you healthier. But put down that BlackBerry!

A survey of Canadian workers found that 75% of people eat lunch at their desks at least three times a week.

 While eating while you work or curtailing your lunch hour may feel productive in the moment, it’s not good for your health or your career. Here are seven good reasons to take your lunch break.

  1. Nutrition: It’s easy to eat poorly when you’re paying more attention to your computer than your food. Taking time to eat lunch encourages you to eat smaller portions, eat more slowly and make healthier food choices.
  2. Stress relief: Getting away from work to decompress with friends or walk in a local park helps release built-up tension, making you more relaxed through the afternoon.
  3. Energy: Use your lunch hour to recharge by visiting a local gym or tackling the stairs in your building. Even a brisk 20-minute walk each day will dramatically boost your energy.
  4. Vitamin D: Fifteen minutes of sun exposure a few times a week will help your body produce vitamin D – vital for the absorption of calcium for strong bones.
  5. Networking: Lunching with co-workers is far more beneficial to your productivity than eating alone at your desk. Use the lunch hour to connect with colleagues, build relationships and even have some fun.
  6. Hygiene: Your desk is no place to eat a meal. Desktop areas are heavily used and rarely sanitized, making them among the dirtiest places in the office. Your keyboard can harbour up to 400 times the bacteria found in a washroom.
  7. Productivity: Sitting down to eat and digest a balanced meal will help you maintain consistent blood sugar levels, allowing you to stay focused and alert for the entire workday.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.