When you weigh up the pros and cons, getting your workout done during your lunch break actually makes more sense than exercising before or after work.
Don’t agree? Read on to find out why it’s a practical option you can tailor to suit your schedule.
It’s more time effective
According to Ivana Buchanan, group training specialist at Zone Fitness, time is everything.
“For those of us who live in and around cities, traffic is particularly hectic in the mornings and evenings. If you can find a gym close enough to your workplace, you can take a quick walk or use public transport to get there. Even if you have to drive, chances are that the road won’t be as busy around lunchtime.” Buchanan adds that you’ll have much more time to spend on personal affairs and chores during your off-time, as you won’t have to sacrifice an hour or more for a workout before or after work.
Mornings are the obvious culprit here; if you get up earlier to go to the gym, chances are you need to sacrifice an hour or two of much-needed sleep if you don’t go to bed particularly early. Getting up at dawn can also be an inconceivable task to many of us, especially during winter.
“Even exercising in the evening has it’s downside,” says Buchanan. “Numerous studies have shown that working out closer to bedtime negatively impacts your ability to fall asleep, because your energy levels are heightened for a few hours after demanding physical activity. Conversely, if you exercise in the afternoon, your body will crave rest even more come bedtime, so you’ll sleep like a baby.”
“Gyms are notoriously busy in the early mornings and evenings, as everyone is clamouring to get their daily session done and dusted,” Buchanan says. “Even during lunchtime it can get a little crowded.”
The solution? Simple! Just ask your boss if you can take your break just before or after lunch. The benefits to this are numerous; besides the vacant workout machines and empty weightlifting areas, group workout classes – Pilates, abs classes, spinning – won’t be fully booked, allowing you to get more personal attention from the trainer or instructor. “And don’t forget empty changing rooms and lockers, unengaged showers and no queues at the water fountain,” Buchanan adds.
Don’t think that because you have to work out during your lunch break, you can’t eat. “It makes sense coupling a fitness routine with regular compact meals so you don’t need to get all your food down in one sitting. Even if you eat at your desk, you nibble away while getting work done,” says Buchanan.
There’s yet another perk: because these meals generally take some time to prepare, you’ve got your evenings free for cooking. “You are much more likely to stick to your meal plan, too,” Buchanan adds.
Work will benefit
Getting active in the middle of your work day means you get an energy boost to see out the graveyard shift: those last three or four hours at the office.
Wrapping it up
In order to make this routine work, you should not view your workout as a luxury (or worse, a chore), but instead as a normal, essential part of your daily life – like eating or sleeping. “It might take getting used to, but lunch time is a great time to fit in an hour of exercise,” conculdes Buchanan.