How taking my lunch hour every day for a week improved my wellbeing

In partnership with Red Bull

I know for a fact that I don’t get outside enough on my lunch break. More likely you’ll find me mindlessly chowing down on a sandwich or last night’s leftovers at my desk, scrolling through emails and slowly typing one-handed responses.

So when Jenny (my daily desk lunch buddy) and I heard about Red Bull’s AWOL initiative – that’s Active While On Lunch – as two people who barely leave the office in a working day, it really struck a chord. We decided to sign up.

While Jenny decided she was going to head for fitness classes in her break, I decided to get some fresh air by exercising outdoors during my lunch hours, whether by going for a brisk walk or light jog.

Lately I’d been struggling with ‘brain fog’ and feeling overwhelmed with deadlines, so wanted to make an effort to get out and about to improve my mood – and hopefully my productivity. As someone who commutes for 2 hours a day each way, I don’t really have a chance to exercise in the evenings, so it makes sense to squeeze in some active time on my lunch break.

Keep reading to find out how I got on during the week.

Monday:

It was coming up to 1pm and I knew I needed to head out for an hour. The idea of going out of the office when I could be smashing out a load of copy for another hour didn’t really appeal, but I knew I needed to stick to the plan. So, I made a list of everything I wanted to get done before the end of the day and left the office trying not to think about it.

As it was only day one I didn’t want to run before I could walk (quite literally), and so went for a proper power walk around the block. Although I was very aware that I had work to do, I used the nervous energy to push myself and get my heart rate up. Come the afternoon, I felt clearer-headed and more focused. Alright, I thought, I can do this for a week…

Tuesday:

I upped the stakes and decided to head out for a run. And by that, I mean jog.

I’m not the most confident of joggers – and it’s been a while since that one time I attempted a 10k – but I decided as long as I was active and moving, that was the main thing; it was not about how far or fast I went. Full disclosure: It was more of a mix of walking and jogging but I felt a serious mood boost come the end of my break.

Wednesday:

The daunting feeling I have about closing my laptop for an hour didn’t come, and I actually felt OK about heading out for an hour. As I’m such a beginner, I didn’t want to try jogging every single day as I’d soon give up, so today went back to my brisk power walk.

When I returned for my 2pm meeting I practically breezed into the office, noticeably cheerier than usual. Am I actually enjoying this AWOL business, I asked myself?

Thursday:

Red Bull has a set of 15-minute workouts, cleverly designed to pack a punch in a short amount of time, so it was easy to incorporate one of these into my hour outside. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just yourself and a patch of grass. This worked as a middle point between my slow and steady jog around the city.

Try this 15-minute outdoor HIIT workout by personal trainer Bethany Duckworth.

Friday:

Come the end of the week I was practically striding out of the office to get my much-needed 1pm walk and dose of fresh air and found it much easier to leave work-related thoughts at my desk.

At about 4:30 I review everything I needed to finish before the end of the week and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve seen off the best part of my weekly to-do list. This is a great feeling.

I also feel so much better in myself generally – I’ve noticed I haven’t slumped into my train seat as I usually do on the way home. Now for the weekend!

Overall

It’s great that Red Bull is encouraging people to make the most of their lunch breaks and, this week especially, my mood has been so much better for getting out of the office. Jenny found the whole experience seriously positive too; read how she got on here.

Sign up to Red Bull’s AWOL initiative for yourself now – trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Feeling inspired? Sign up to get AWOL

Throughout May, Red Bull is offering a range of high quality fitness classes – from rowing to pilates to high intensity interval training (HIIT) – ran by some of London’s best up and coming fitness & gym concepts.

Taking up residency in Red Bull’s Convent Garden HQ, the free ticketed lunchtime classes are all designed to get you out from under your desk and get your blood pumping in 30 minutes. All AWOL fitness classes are free to enter, but you must be signed up first as spaces are limited to 25 per session.

BOOK NOW

Book your free lunchtime session, plus get tips, inspiration and claim your complimentary can of Red Bull here.

#RedBullAWOL

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