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Going HIKING on your lunch break - a side of nature with that sandwich?

If you’re an office worker that’s lucky enough to get a whole hour for your lunch break then why waste it thumbing through a social media newsfeed at your desk? Take back YOUR lunch time and go for a walk!

Being in the presence of nature (even if it’s just the landscaped shrubs around the industrial estate you work at) does wonders for our emotional and mental well being, not to mention the health benefits you’ll get from moving your body during an otherwise sedentary day.

My lunchtime view when I used to escape the office: less than 500 yards behind me was the industrial estate!My lunchtime view when I used to escape the office: less than 500 yards behind me was the industrial estate!

It was a routine I adopted myself in my previous office life with powerful results; I mean sure at first I received some peculiar stares from colleagues as I shouldered my rucksack, set my boot laces and hiked off beyond the work horizon to the countryside beyond, but once they’d had a chance to think about it, soon there were swathes of office folk treading the local pathways!

The photo above was the same spot that I sat chewing a sandwich as a wild fox sauntered by, and where I stared in wide eyed wonder as a kestrel hovered no more than 20ft out in front of me. How boring would those days have been if all that I had experienced was sitting at my desk? Hiking to that spot also helped to train my legs ready for a hiking trip to Dartmoor.


Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your nature break:


Bring a change of shoes

Whether it’s slipping on a pair of trainers for comfort or hiking boots for trickier terrain, not switching my office shoes on my more off-the-map forays led to some embarrassing trails of mud that lead suspiciously right to my desk! Oops!


Something to freshen up with afterwards

No-one wants to sit in an office with the colleague that smells like a cut bag of onions but if you’ve worked yourself into a sweat, a quick wipe around and a restoring spritz of deodorant before you go back inside will sort that right out! Better to have it to hand than spend the remainder of the afternoon with your arms clamped awkwardly by your side…


Pack your lunch and head out

The trick to executing the perfect lunchtime hike AND actually being able to eat some food at the same time lies in a spot of pre-planning. This is meant to relieve stress not cause extra! A packed lunch is essential, which should save you a few quid too.

Decide how long you personally need to scoff that sandwich (allowing a couple of extra minutes to settle) and divide what remains of your hour in two – this is your walking time. Walk until you reach that time, enjoy your lunch, then return safe in the knowledge that you know you can make it back to the office without being late.


Do take care if alone!

More so for the ladies than the lads but then we live in equalising times so who am I to say? If by chance someone with a nefarious mindset happens to notice you, unfortunately it can be quite easy to predict where and when you might be found again if you make your hikes a regular habit. Personally I have encountered a few suspicious individuals in my alone time in the wild spaces near ‘civilisation’ though thankfully got away with it but don’t put yourself at risk!

If you’re concerned either change up the times and days that you enjoy your hikes, or be sure to go out as a group. It can be nice to chat and bond with colleagues away from the pressures of the office space. Stay alert, and have your phone ready and working in case you need to make an emergency call.


I hope I haven’t put you off with that last one but I refuse to let the nasties ruin my enjoyment of the natural world and all the benefits that regularly connecting can bring, and you shouldn’t either! Let us know what you think in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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