I used to have a coworker who made it a habit to hit up a nearby gym on his lunch breaks — even if it was just for a half hour, it was a way to stop focusing on sales and start focusing on lifting some weights. When he told me about his lunch break workouts, I immediately made about 50 excuses as to why I couldn't adopt the same routine. "I feel self conscious about showering at the gym," "I'd lose track of time," and "I feel like I'm just too busy for that" were definitely up there, but these reasons were just blocking the fact that I was actually jealous of his ambition. Heck, even taking a leisurely walk around the parking lot would be better than what I was doing, which was nothing.
Working out during lunch is such a smart idea for so many reasons. Not only does it help break up your day, but it'll give you a bit more pep when facing the dreadfully slow afternoon office hours. All it requires is a little bit of planning and some practice to make sure that you're getting the most out of your workout with the limited time you have.
Here are a few reasons as to why you should give the lunch break workout a chance.
1. You'll free up your night
A lot of people hit up the gym after work, but if you've had a particularly tough day, it can be hard to get the motivation to stop by before driving home, where your bed and your favorite shows live. If you've already gone during lunch, you won't feel the 5 p.m. guilt anymore.
If you have kids, this might be the best time to work out without having to factor in their transportation needs and extracurriculars.
2. There will be less of a crowd
If you've joined a particularly busy gym, you'll likely have your pick of machines if you visit during lunch. Having a bit more room to move will also help you complete your workout a little bit faster. You'll also likely avoid seeing someone you know. Not that you want to be antisocial, but chatting with an old coworker and catching up on life is something that should be done over coffee, not when you only have an hour to spare.
3. You'll be less anxious the rest of the day
If you're worried about a big meeting, exercise can be the perfect way to help reduce anxiety and stress. According to the American Psychological Association, there's a strong link between exercise and mood, and the act of moving your muscles greatly helps your mental health.
4. You might be able to form stronger bonds with coworkers
If you want to get to know your coworkers better, but can't really afford multiple lunch dates, taking a walk together around the office building is a perfect (and extremely inexpensive) way to form better bonds. If it's a particularly nice day out, they'll likely accept the invite. If these walks stick, you'll have a buddy that will make the chance to get some fresh air even more fun.
5. You'll be making the most of your lunch break
Sometimes, if things get busy, you might be tempted to stick around your desk and try to crank out just a bit more work. While this shows you're dedicated, you should remember that you're entitled to a break. And by getting away from the office, you're focusing on you, which should be the most important part of the break. It's totally fine to step out, get some steps in, and mentally restore a bit. The office will still be there in an hour.
6. A lunch time gym trip will boost your confidence
It's no secret that exercise can help raise your general sense of well-being, but it's been proven to help out a lot in the confidence department. As confident employees typically go far in an organization, spending some time to help tone up will be a win-win. Not only will you feel better, but you'll act better as well.
7. A lunch workout will help increase your time management
If you know you only have an hour to spare, you'll get better and better at managing that time for your own benefit. You likely won't waste time walking around, wondering whether or not you're flexible enough to try a particularly daunting routine. You'll get in, do your thing, and make a point to research the scary strength machines later. Adopting this kind of mindset is helpful with so many other aspects of life, and it's an amazing skill to conquer.
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