How to realistically exercise in your lunch break (eating and changing time factored)

Ciara Sheppard
Contributor Yahoo Style UK
There are ways to work out on your lunch break effectively. [Photo: Getty]

Probably the biggest factor that deters people from exercising is a lack of time to do.

Getting up at 6am to sweat it out at the gym seems like a luxury afforded to people who are without long commutes (and sans children).

And going after work? It can often seem like idea of hell after a long day in the office, when all you do is want to do is go home and put your feet up.

But have you ever thought of squeezing in a quick workout in your lunch break?

It turns out that there’s a lot of research that proves a midday workout can do wonders for your job performance, creativity,  productivity, enthusiasm and lowering stress levels.

And we think you’ll agree they’re all things that can do with a bit of a boost during our working day.

Yes, we know it might seem a stretch to get changed, work out, then get changed again in just an hour – but it is possible.

To prove this, we’ve rounded up some tips to help you do it realistically, all while squeezing in a bite to eat (because that’s important too).

Whether you’re popping out to the gym, going for a run in the area, or hitting the local park for a spot of yoga, here’s some tips to get in your LBWO (lunch break work out) efficiently.

Whether you’re going for a jog in the city or a session down the gym, you can fit it all in to half an hour. [Photo: Getty]

1. Be realistic with your timing

Going on averages, let’s assume everyone has an hour lunch break, the norm for people who work nine hours a day in the UK.

Now let’s assume it takes five minutes to get changed into your workout gear, and five minutes to get changed back into your work clothes. That’s ten minutes in total of changing time.

Let’s also assume you want 10 minutes to have a shower, if your gym/office has them.

Finally, let’s assume you want another 10 minutes to enjoy a nice sandwich or salad after your workout, too.

That leaves a whole 30 minutes to get fit per day, and while just half an hour might seem pointless to some, it’s actually ideal: the NHS recommend we get 30 minutes of exercise five days a week in their physical activity guidelines for adults.

So there you have it: no excuses that your lunch break isn’t long enough to exercise.

Set ten minutes aside each evening to pack your workout gear. [Photo: Getty]

2. Prepare in advance

Lack of planning is the main reason for throwing in the towel on your LBWO.

If you come without the right gear, or forget your gear altogether, you’re not going to get the job done.

Each evening, set ten minutes to pack your workout bag, not forgetting the correct top, bottoms, trainers, socks, tennis racket, roller blades, ice skates, whatever.

Where appropriate, you can even wear some of your workout gear under your clothes, or get your hair into the most practical style first thing in the morning, to shave valuable minutes off your changing time.

Just make sure you’re fully set to go when the clock strikes lunch.

3. Avoid peak lunch time hour

Where you can, avoid 1-2 o’clock.

This is when the gyms will be at their busiest and you might find yourself losing valuable minutes waiting for a machine.

Try to go a little earlier or a little later if possible. If you can’t, why not scrap the gym and go for a run in the park instead?

Yoga is a good option for a low-cardio lunch time work out. [Photo: Getty]

5. Go with a plan

There’s no use arriving a the gym, fully changed with 30 full minutes to use only to realise you have no idea what you want to achieve.

Don’t waste precious minutes wondering the gym floor by going there with a clear plan of how you’re going to use up your time, whether thats ten minutes on the treadmill, ten on the cross-trainer and ten for warming up and warming down.

If you goals are a bit more complex than burning a few calories, why not set some time aside on Sunday evening and plan your workouts for the week ahead?

4. Shorten your shower

We’re all guilty of spending too long in the shower at home, but spending a lovely 20 minutes under the warm water is not an option when you’re meant to be back at your desk in a matter of minutes.

So be prepared to speed up.

Otherwise, don’t shower at all. Seriously: no judgement here.

If you don’t have anywhere to shower or simply don’t have time, just make sure you’ve come prepared with a towel for sweat and makeup or body wipes to freshen up.

Be prepared to shorten your shower. [Photo: Getty]

5. Don’t make your workout an either/or to eating

There’s nothing healthy about skipping lunch in favour of a workout: we need lunch to keep our energy levels topped up throughout the day, especially after exercise.

One way to save time is to pack your lunch the night before, along with your workout gear.

Celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who has trainer the likes of Carrie Underwood, told Self she’s a big fan of packed lunches, especially for anyone trying to exercise over lunch.

“Packing your lunch allows you to eat a healthy meal that gives your body the nutrients you really need without giving you the heavy feeling you can easily get from eating out.” she tells the health website. “Packing your lunch also gives you more time to get in quick exercise.”

So there you have it: the LBWO is doable.

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