How to make lunchtime workouts work

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lunch work out

Are you working through your lunch hour? Take your break back and ditch the extra screen time for an energising lunchtime workout!

Why lunchtime workouts work

For many of us, with a school run to make and morning traffic to beat, getting to the gym at 5:30 am is not an option.  As for exercising after work, come five o’clock, many of us just want to get home. The solution: lunch break workouts.

The best time to exercise

A lunch break workout may be one of the best times of the day to work up a sweat!

“If we look at the average circadian rhythm of an average person, our body temperature is at its lowest when we wake up and then rises steadily through the day,” explains Catherine Viljoen, biokineticist at Virgin Active. “By about 10 am we’re on high alert (which is great for work meetings by the way), and as we go into the afternoon, we’ve got our best co-ordination, fastest reaction time and greatest muscle strength. Our muscles are warmer and we could be less likely to injure ourselves as a result. Good news for that midday exercise session! “

Beat workday stress

Exercise helps to release endorphins which not only improve our mood, they also help reduce stress. If we can manage our stress better, then our ability to be productive, to plan well, to problem solve as well as to remember the simplest of things, will be better too.

You don’t need a full hour

A common excuse for skipping lunchtime workouts is that there’s no time. However, a quick 30-minute workout may be all you need. Experts tell us that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, on most days of the week, is all we need to stay healthy.

A 30-minute high-intensity interval training workout is one way of getting the most from a short workout. Supplement strength training sets or low-intensity cardio bouts with one to two minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals such as step-ups, jumping jacks or skipping. The low intensity bouts will allow you to recover slightly so that you can work harder in the high-intensity bouts, the end result being a greater calorie burn and improvement in overall fitness compared to a low-intensity 45-minute cycle ride for example.

Tips to make a lunchtime exercise routine work

  • Schedule the time in your work calendar.
  • Make it a team effort and invite co-workers with you to exercise – you’re more likely to stick to it.
  • Pack your gym bag in the car the night before.
  • Plan in advance how you’re going to make use of your 30-minute time slot – look on the timetable for classes such as ‘twentyfour’. Think about how to construct your session. You could do 10 minutes of cardio and then 20 minutes of circuit/interval training for example. A 30-minute swim is another great option. It’s refreshing too, ensuring that you don’t get back to the office looking flushed and feeling worn out.
  • Remember if you’re going to exercise over lunch, you still need to eat. Make sure you have a healthy pre- and post-exercise snack.

At the end of the day, the best time to train is the time that suits you and your lifestyle. There are different benefits for exercising at different times of the day. But, if the mornings and evenings aren’t working for you, then let’s work out over lunch.

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