I know what you’re thinking – ‘what lunch break?’ But as much as you think wolfing down a sandwich whilst wading through your emails is helping you get ahead, it’s not beneficial in the long run. Taking a real, actual break (that means tearing your eyes away from your computer screen and moving) can improve your concentration and productivity, ultimately helping you get more done.
In a study conducted by Bupa it was found that only 30 per cent of people take a lunch break. They also found that almost half of those who didn’t take a break felt that their productivity levels plummet in the afternoon. Bupa Clinical Director of Occupational Health, Dr. Jenny Leeser, said: ‘Best practice is for employees to take breaks – often in the form of a change of activity – at regular intervals throughout the day to help stay alert and focused.’
And what better way to fill your lunch hour than with some high intensity exercise that will get the blood pumping, endorphins flowing and give you a much-needed break from the office?
Our working culture is more and more dominated by staying late at the office, working weekends and answering your boss’s emails at 1am. It’s time we reclaimed our lunch breaks. It may only be 30-minutes, so fill it with something that will make you feel amazing.
Is 30 minutes of exercise enough?
The latest craze in the fitness world is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. The theory is based around short, intense bursts of exercise with rests in between – you only need between 15 and 30 minutes for the class to be effective. For example, sprinting for a minute followed by two minutes of walking, repeated five times, would be a brilliant 15-minute workout. Perfect for the lunch break!
A 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that just two weeks of High Intensity Interval Training can improve your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training. In other words – short bursts are better.
The benefits of HIIT
- Improves you ability to use oxygen
- Improves the efficiency of your heart
- Saves you time – it’s an efficient way to exercise
- You don’t need any equipment
- Stimulates the production of the human growth hormone – which increases your metabolism
Tips for a lunchtime workout
- Don’t forget a change of clothes
- Exercise before you eat to avoid stitch
- Encourage your lunch buddies to come with you for moral support
- Dry shampoo is a must!
- Have porridge or eggs for breakfast for an energy boost
20-Minute HIIT Workout
3 rounds, 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest. Rest for 1minute between each round.
- PRESS UPS: If you can’t do a full press up then drop onto your knees. Make sure your form is on point (straight back, strong core). Build up to full press ups with practice.
- SQUATS: It’s vital to keep your back straight and your heels on the ground. If you can’t squat deep enough then move your legs further apart.
- RUNNING ON THE SPOT: Keep the intensity high for the full 45 seconds – kick your heels to your bum
- LUNGES: Balance and core strength are key with lunges. Make sure you lunge as deep as possible, keeping your knee above your toes. Make sure to alternate legs.
- TRICEP DIPS: With your hands on a bench or low table, put your legs straight out and balance on your palms. Bend your elbows to lower yourself as far as you can before pressing back up.
10-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout
Pressed for time? Near a treadmill? Give this a try:
- Set the treadmill to level 9 for a three-minute warm up.
- Set the treadmill to 12, 14, or 16 (depending on your fitness level and experience)
- Sprint for 30 seconds.
- Jump to the side of the treadmill for 30 seconds of recovery.
- Repeat this 10 times.
- After 10 minutes of sprints, set the treadmill to level 7 for a three-minute cool down.