Nature Valley™, the UK’s No.1 cereal bar brand, doesn’t have the word ‘nature’ in its name for the fun of it. The delicious, handy-sized bars were created so they would always be there for great outdoor adventures.

Because nature is the biggest most wonderful source of inspiration, Nature Valley has unveiled the Great British Problem of being stuck indoors, in front of a screen, at lunchtime. A new study has revealed that Ireland has become a sedentary nation, with a staggering 88 % of workers admitting there are days they don’t leave the office from the minute they get in, to the moment they leave.

In fact, during the winter months, as many as 96 % confess they do not see sunlight during the day and a further 21 % said they just do not have the time to head out at lunchtime. Moreover, over 7 in 10 people (71%) in the South East, said that they spend more than seven hours straight slumped at their desk.

Almost one in ten (9 %) said their boss would disapprove if they left the office and the same number said their colleagues would make them feel guilty for getting a breath of fresh air at midday. Tragically, 17 % complained that the only fresh air they get is when they open the office window.

One in five (21 %) said the unpredictable British weather made them stay chained to their desk and just over one in ten (12 %) said it was not the ‘done’ thing to pop out at lunchtime. But 19 % complained there was nowhere pleasant to go and more than one in ten (13 %) said they hate going out into the hustle and bustle, the poll by Nature Valley found.

It’s not surprising then, that as many as two thirds (68 %) of workers in the South East said being in the office all day left them tired, 31 % felt trapped and depressed and more than one in five (23 %) said they felt like a battery farmed chicken.

Professor Charles Spence, Experimental Psychologist at the University of Oxford comments: “City dwellers spend more than 90 % of their time indoors, leading to a range of problems for workers, including everything from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months due to a lack of natural daylight and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), especially in buildings with poor ventilation. The good news is that an hour spent outside is proven to drastically improve short term memory, spark inspiration and decrease stress levels”

Even those who go out for lunch, it is a constant battle to find the time and opportunity to reconnect, the extent being that only 26 % of those polled said they take a lunch break most days, but 33 % said they never or hardly ever get the chance to go out and clear their head. The research discovered that 18 % of workers in the South East haven’t explored the area near their office properly and 16 % said they wouldn’t know how to find a nice green spot. Moreover, the poll found that of those that do nip out on their break, 23 % said they spend it talking about work with their colleagues. And 17 % head to the shops for an opportunity for some retail therapy.

We can’t all climb a mountain, trek through a forest, or dive into a lake on our lunch break but even a little bit of nature does us a world of good. For some, the ‘great outdoors’ can feel a long way away. Nearly a third of those polled (32%) admitted that they must make more of an effort to get fresh air when at work, with 53% saying they don’t see the light of day from the moment they step into the office to the moment they leave.

But a third moaned that their days go so quickly, lunch is just a blur and the same amount claimed they crave sunlight when cooped up in an airconditioned office.

Furthermore, the main and only reasons workers had for leaving their desks at all were listed as nipping to the toilet (61 %), fetching something from the printer (46 %) and making a drink (59 %).

Kat Jones, Marketing Manager for Nature Valley UK said: “More than half of UK professionals 24 and older, do not take the full lunch break they’re entitled to, with the average lunch break lasting just 22 minutes[1] – that’s a third less than it was six years ago. We are encouraging people to get out and about during their lunch break and to stop denying themselves the pleasure of enjoying the great outdoors. We’re so excited to get behind the movement and to have created some fun tools that should encourage and enable people to get out more”.

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