The benefits of working out during your lunch break (and how to make it work)

When you weigh up the pros and cons, getting your workout done during your lunch break actually makes more sense that exercising before or after work

Don’t agree? Read on to find out why it’s a practical option that 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: “Plus, you’ll have much more time to spend on personal affairs and chores during your off-time, seeing as you won’t have to sacrifice an hour or more for a workout before or after work.”

Better (and more) sleep

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. Not to mention that getting up at dawn is an inconceivable task to many of us, especially during winter time.

“But even exercising in the evening has it’s downside,” Buchanan says. “Numerous studies have shown that working out closer to bedtime actually negatively impacts your ability to go to sleep, 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.”

Availability

“Gyms are notoriously busy in the early mornings and evening, 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 for vacant workout machines and less occupied weight lifting areas, group workout classes – Pilates, abs training, spinning – won’t be as fully booked, allowing you to get more personal attention from the trainer or instructor.

“And let’s not forget empty changing rooms and lockers, unengaged showers and no queues at the water fountain,” Buchanan adds.

Food!

Don’t think that because you have to work out during your lunch break, you can’t eat.

“It makes sense coupling a fitness routines with regular compact meals so you don’t need to get all your graze 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.

Your work will benefit

Remember that part about exercise energising you? Getting active in the middle of your workday means you get a free dose of energy 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 lunchtime is a great time to fit in an hour of exercise,” Buchanan says.