As a former UCSD water polo player and triathlete, I exercised 3 to 6 hours per day. That regimen is no longer attainable. Nonetheless, I understand that physical activity is vital to my well-being. Now is the perfect time to develop good habits to fit our demanding work schedules. I advocate for the lunchtime workout.
Although I strive to exercise every day, on average I complete about three sessions each workweek. Most days, I get my workout in at lunchtime. This may include fast pace weight lifting or a cardio routine with lightweight and high repetition. Other times, I take to the streets or beach for a run or a refreshing swim in the ocean. Once in a while, I’ll hop on my road bike and cycle the coast for an hour. Working out at lunch requires effort and dedication, however it does not require a lot of time, only 20 to 40 minutes, and you do not have to do it every day to reap the benefits. Getting out of the office for some physical activity, even if it’s only for a few minutes, will invigorate your life. First, let’s get into the benefits:
GOOD FOR YOU
There is no denying the importance of increasing your heart rate through physical activity. Exercise aids in preventing excess weight gain or works to maintain weight loss, helps fend off arthritis, and makes you less at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer. In our profession, we tend to be sedentary. This gives you more reason to step outside and get the blood flowing. Exercising at lunch also means you are not stationary for an unhealthy and heavy meal. Instead, you will likely only have time for lighter, and hopefully healthier, alternatives.
The one thing we can all agree on is that there is never enough time in the day. With work, family, and extracurricular activities, it is definitely difficult to fit a workout into our busy schedules. We may wake up with the best intentions, but quickly lose focus and energy after a chaotic morning, hectic day at the office, or evening engagements. Working out at lunch keeps your mornings and evenings free. This means you don’t have to shirk your before and after work responsibilities.
MAKES YOU HAPPY
Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals. These stimulants leave you feeling happy. The lunchtime workout leaves you prepared to finish your day in a cheerful and positive mood.
GIVES YOU ENERGY
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body, which helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your organs run more efficiently, you have more energy to perform daily activities. Instead of feeling tired and sluggish after a large meal, working out at lunch boosts your energy level so that you can productively tackle the second part of your day.
Work can seem at times unmanageable. Usually, there are more tasks to accomplish than there is time in the day. A lunchtime workout can set all that noise aside. A change of scenery will help you maintain perspective. It will show you that there is more to life than your small work bubble. Moreover, exercise gets the blood and oxygen circulating, which combats depression and relaxes the mind and body.
Now that we have covered a few of the benefits, let’s take a look at some tips to help kick start your lunchtime workout campaign:
GRAB A PARTNER
Exercise with a colleague or building companion. Everyone needs accountability. It is much harder to tell your buddy that you have to cancel a scheduled lunchtime workout. Chatting with a friend makes any activity more enjoyable.
FIND A FACILITY
No matter where you work, there is likely a workout facility near you. This may be a 24-hour fitness, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and more. If you can make it work – join. At the very least, a club will provide weights, treadmills and other cardio machines, and a locker room. It may also have scheduled 30 or 45 minute aerobic classes, a swimming pool, and/or a basketball court.
USE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
If you are unable to connect with a gym, walk or run near your work building. Use a nearby strip of grass or park to do calisthenics (lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.) or some other cardio routine. If you do not have enough time to get outside, use your office or building stairs for stretching or aerobic activities. The point is you must be creative. There is something and somewhere for everyone.
EAT AT THE OFFICE
To put the lunchtime workout into practice, you will have to sacrifice eating out with friends and colleagues. On workout days, it is best to bring your lunch so that you can allocate more time to your exercise routine. If you are unable to bring your lunch, call in or pick up food to bring back to the office. If you’re running or walking, head towards a healthy spot to get your food or end your run near a sandwich shop.
DITCH THE PHONE
You are more likely to harness the benefits of the lunchtime workout with your phone in the office. If you are answering emails and calls during your workout, you are not giving 100% effort and focus. The inability to break, mentally and emotionally, from work will diminish many of the benefits described above.
The lunchtime workout offers many benefits. It can better your work and personal life by making you healthier, happier and more relaxed. Make the effort to find a lunchtime exercise routine that works for you.
Michael J. Libutti is a Broker and Attorney at Class Realty Group’s San Diego office. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 858-220-4295.