Life gets in the way of exercising, and that’s okay. We’ve all got other priorities that mean hitting the gym before or after work isn’t always number one on the list.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your lunch break.
- Fit your workout style in with the time you have
If you’ve only got 30 minutes to spare, there’s no point wasting time changing into your gym clothes or working up a sweat so you have to hit the showers. Keep a pair of trainers at work and go for a 30 minute power walk or find a quiet space and do a quick yoga video on your smartphone. The FitStar yoga app lets you find videos based on how much time you have and is geared towards people who can’t get to a studio.
There are few things quite as disheartening to a fitness regime than rushing to the gym by your office only to find you’ve forgotten your trainers. Or worse, finishing your workout and realising you don’t have a towel and having to return to your desk damp and flustered. Try keeping a workout bag at work to avoid being caught out.
- Explore lunchtime classes near work
Most gyms give shorter lunchtime fitness classes designed to give you a proper workout with time left over to freshen up, change and have a quick lunch on top. Don’t have a gym by your work? There’s bound to be a martial arts, dance or yoga studio that can put you through your paces instead. If not, grab your trainers or bike and hit the tarmac.
- Have freshening up options
If you don’t have showering facilities, or just don’t have the time, it is possible to freshen up in your office toilets if you bring wet wipes or soap, deodorant and a fresh towel along. Dry shampoo is also very useful to have on hand.
- Get your employers involved
Employee wellbeing should be a priority for your management team. If you feel yourself and others are struggling to workout due to a lack of facilities like showers, or think that more flexible lunch times could help, then talk to your employer. Having a healthy workforce can only benefit them in the long run.
- Get your fellow employees involved
Exercising with others is great for keeping your motivation levels up. Find a workout buddy at the office, or start a running group so you don’t have to go it alone. Some gyms even offer corporate memberships, so if you can get enough people on board, you and your team may be able to join for less and your employer may subsidise the scheme.
- Get ‘appy
We’ve already mentioned yoga apps, but if that’s not your thing there are so many other great options to help you fit a decent workout into your lunch break. If you’re new to fitness, try Couch to 5K – it gives you a weekly programme of short runs to build up your stamina. For very short, intense workouts which target specific muscle groups, the Pilates app, Blogilates, has videos ranging from just five minutes and they can be added together for a longer workout. Try Footprint Fitness for a huge range of 30 minute full body workouts which can be done outside or at the gym so you can be totally flexible.
- Up the intensity
If you’ve only got a short lunch break, time may actually be on your side. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is perfect for a busy schedule because it can be done in 15-20 minutes. Try alternating sprinting for one minute and jogging for two – it can burn more fat than an hour of jogging. The Tabata workout can even be done in four minutes. It involves exercising as hard as you can for 20 seconds with 20 seconds rest, repeating 18-20 times. Be warned, it’s tougher than it sounds. It is reported that HIIT also causes your body to burn more calories in the 24 hours after exercise, which means you’ll still be getting the benefit once you’re back at your desk.