Everyone knows that exercising regularly is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But for most people, it can be hard to squeeze in a workout on top of your other obligations. Working out on your lunch break could be the solution to this problem.
Exercising during your lunch break can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and even improve your productivity and energy when you get back to the office. But when you only have an hour to spare, how can you make the most of it?
Maximizing your time is key
The key to getting in a good workout during your lunch break is to do exercises that work your entire body. Try combining exercises like squats and lunges with a shoulder press or biceps curl. Doing this will help stimulate more muscles in a shorter timeframe.
Supersetting your exercises is another way to get more done in less time. Supersetting is often used as a catch-all term to describe doing two different exercises back-to-back, then taking a quick breather before repeating the two exercises again for another set. By minimizing the rest between the moves your heart rate will rise quicker, and you’ll also be challenging your muscles.
True supersets pair two exercises that work opposing muscle groups and are ideal for building strength. Here are some examples of exercises you could pair together for supersets:
- Chest press and back row
- Glute bridge and front lunge
- Biceps curl and triceps kickback
Circuit training -- short bursts of resistance exercise using moderate weights and frequent repetitions, followed quickly by another burst of exercise targeting a different muscle group -- can also give you a full-body workout in a hurry.
You don’t need a gym
If there's a gym at or near your workplace, that's probably your best bet for a lunchtime workout. If getting to a gym isn’t feasible, you can still get in a quick workout in or around your office.
If the weather is nice, take your workout outside. Riding your bike or taking a brisk walk/run in addition to doing bodyweight exercises like pushups, lunges and squats will get your heart pumping.
However, if the weather keeps you inside, these office-friendly exercises will do the trick:
- Chair squat: Start with your feet shoulder distance apart, sit your hips back until your backside touches the chair, and push through your heels to stand up.
- Wall pushups: Stand facing a wall, with your arms up and palms touching the wall in front of you. Lean into the wall, then push yourself back to starting position.
- Arm Curl to Overhead Press: Bring some dumbbells to the office. Simply stand and holding the weight curl 1 arm and then press it overhead. Alternate this x 12 working up to alternating for 20.
- Triceps Chair Dips: Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle.
While a lunch-hour workout is great, don’t forgo food in order to fit one in. Your body needs to be refueled and it’s essential that you eat, so don’t skip lunch in favor of exercise.
You can do both with a few adjustments. About an hour or so before working up a sweat, have a snack to make sure you have enough energy to make it through your workout. As soon as you’re finished exercising, have something quick like a protein shake – but you should also have a light lunch within an hour of working out.
On days that you’re going to work out during lunch, pack a light, lower-fat lunch, which is easier to digest after physical activity. It’s also VERY important to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Bring along a refillable water bottle and keep drinking and refilling it throughout the day.
When you’re getting started with your new lunch hour workout plan, make sure you’re easing into it. Don’t try to incorporate everything at once – make a couple changes and see what works for you. Remember: a short workout is better than no workout.