Why sport in your lunch break is good for you

Sport is always good for you, at any time of day. People who choose to exercise at lunch time break up the working day with an hour of physical activity. This is really important for your metabolism, circulation and general health. Just one hour of exercise is enough to minimise all the negative effects of spending the morning sitting at a desk. Doing exercise at lunch time also causes your metabolic rate to increase considerably compared to your typical morning rate. That keeps your metabolism running high almost all day long. The result is that even when resting, you burn more calories and lose weight quicker with less effort.

Low intensity, high frequency

In the limited window of your work break, the best form of activity is “soft” exercising like power walking, Pilates, cycling (even on an exercise bike) and yoga. Don’t think of them as “poor” alternatives to the gym, because if you do them regularly during your breaks, they can have tangible benefits for your body and mind and improve company performance.

The dividing line” “is the intensity of the exercise. If it is excessive or too concentrated, you run the risk of overtraining”.

There is plenty of evidence available from various sources. In a study of 200 workers who spent their daily lunch break exercising for between 30 to 60 minutes, researchers at the University of Leeds recorded widespread increases in levels of motivation and satisfaction at work. Another study published by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found improvements in perceived well-being, increased productivity and fewer absences from work for those who manage to combine fewer hours worked with a break for physical activity.

Yoga in the office?

Some studies have looked at the benefits of yoga. A British survey shows that a 6-week programme in the lunch break had positive effects on the main productivity indicators: learning capacity, autonomy, energy and motivation. Not only that: the 48 office workers who took part associated doing yoga with overall improvement in satisfaction and an increased sense of security in stress situations.

There are a whole series of practical factors in favour of yoga: you don’t sweat too much, you don’t need special equipment and there is no need for lengthy warm-ups and it even helps combat the sugar crash after lunch. You become immersed in an experience with totally different rules from the workplace. Words make way for listening to yourself, clearing your mind and the ambience is neither competitive nor hierarchical.

When the lunch break is not a good choice for sport

If you have a really short lunch break, or if you often have to work without a break because your job does not guarantee organisation of fixed, regular working hours, it’s better to find time after work in the evening to do sport and exercise. Sport in the lunch break is not advisable if you have problems or difficulties with digestion. Eating straight after doing physical exercise, possibly in a hurry, may worsen existing stomach problems or ulcers.

In any case, the first and most effective rule of physical activity is the one that counts, and that’s do what you like doing the most.

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