The latest science is telling us that getting a workout in during your lunch hour might be the very best choice you can make! Here’s why, and how to make it work with your schedule.
The number one reason given when people are asked why they don’t workout, is that they simply don’t have the time. Many people aren’t inclined to set their alarm an hour earlier in order to hit the gym or the pavement. And once your work day is done, many people find they’re too tired, or have too many personal issues to deal with. But in the middle of the day, during a lunch break, is an ideal time to fit in a short but intense workout, making the most of limited time. There’s numerous benefits to working out at noon or 1pm.
Need to convince your employer to let you have time to exercise? This study, by the Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K., found that workers who exercised during lunch break got more work done, used up fewer sick days and had lower medical expenses than their non-exercising colleagues. The amount of the overall performance boost was about 15%.
Exercising at noon (or thereabouts) increases your metabolism for the rest of your workday. It also invigorates you, getting you more easily through the usual afternoon slump, meaning you might find you can skip your 3pm cup of coffee. You are also less likely to skip your session due to tiredness or the need to tend to more urgent matters before you go home.
So how do we make a lunchtime workout feasible?
Try eating two smaller lunches. About an hour before you workout, you’ll want carbs, so your body has fuel. Afterwards, eat more protein to replenish and rebuild your muscles.
You don’t need a long time! 20-30 minutes of HIIT is perfect. Particularly so when combined with compound exercises that use as much of the body as possible, like squats with big arm movements, and yes, the dreaded burpee. You can get a workout like this done with minimal equipment, and our weather is usually so pleasant, that all you really need to do is step outside. Although, I should tell you that my Tabata Express class that meets 12:15-12:45pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays is perfect in this situation.
There’s a number of really great body wipes available nowadays so you don’t even need a full shower when you’re done, so don’t let that stop you. My favorite is Action Wipes – they’re made with really high quality natural microbial ingredients that leave you feeling clean, soft, and with a light tea tree oil scent that dissipates rather quickly, so you won’t feel like you just dumped a bottle of perfume on yourself. I have some at the studio if you’d ever like to try one. Dry shampoo spray is also worth trying.
So if you’re finding that you don’t have time for a workout during the morning or evening and thought that meant you had to skip it altogether, give the midday workout a chance!
Whatever time you choose, make exercise a priority in your life. Every movement really does matter – any type, any where, and time, dressed in any clothes.