When you have a bustling career, it can make life hectic. Let’s face it, between meetings, tasks, emails and calls, you may barely have time to catch your breath, let alone consider getting a sweat on during your lunch break. But you may change your priorities once you know of the positive effects of working out at lunch….
Time to escape the desk! You may think that being desk-bound might make your day more productive, as you could get an extra hour to chip off a chunk on your to do list... but it’s actually more detrimental to spend your entire day at your computer. We all know how the saying goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
So let’s dive into why working out at lunch time during your day in the office can really bring about positive effects to you. Physically, emotionally, mentally and creatively - you’ll notice that all of these will be improved. You’ll soon be hitting the lunchtime HIIT sessions!
5 Reasons why you should be working out at lunch
Improve your productivity
Work hard, play hard - that’s our motto here at Move! Sure, we have a kind boss who has a work policy of longer lunch breaks if you choose to workout… but he’s a clever one. He knows that our productivity will improve if we get a break from the screens and get our blood pumping.
We return to our desks feeling invigorated and energised - no 3pm energy slump here (office biscuits pick up any stragglers though). Our focus is refreshed and we’ve reset our day rather than slogging through in a tired haze.
But don’t just take our word for it! A study at Leeds Metropolitan University found interesting correlations between daytime exercising and workplace self-assessment.
200+ employees at a variety of companies began exercising during their working day, and compared self-assessments to days where they did not workout. They found that during days where they hit the gym, they found they could manage their time more effectively and had higher levels of productivity. They also had smoother relationships with colleagues (more on that later) and reported a higher level of satisfaction at the end of the day!
Ever get frustrated or stressed at work? It’s inevitable to feel frazzled on some days (unless you’re zen beyond belief) and if you carry around that pent up frustration all day, it can escalate and diminish your positivity to rock bottom.
There’s a reason why exercise is known as a stress-reliever. Not only will you get those feel-good endorphins shooting around your body, but you’ll also experience a form of meditation in motion. You hone in on the activity and forget the irritations of the day in favour of the physical challenge. Endorphins, plus a chunk of time spent not thinking of the stress that plagued your day, can calm you down immensely.
Want another study to back-up this info? You got it. Bristol University studied 200 employees and recorded their feedback on how working out impacted their days. They found that calmness improved by 27% and they were better equipped to handle stress.
“On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” - Jo Coulson, Research Associate at Bristol University's department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences.
You’ll get more creative!
After you’ve spent a solid 30-45 minutes moving, you’ll click into genius mode. Ok, not quite ‘genius’ but cardio is proven to increase your creativity for up to two hours after your workout.
Need the proof? Exercise speeds up the birth of new brain cells and it’s been proven that exercise increases the hippocampus (part of the brain that regulates emotions and is associated with long-term memory) which is suggested improves creativity as well. Walking and running appears to help many problem solve and come up with new ideas (remember, exercise is meditation in movement), so let’s grab our lunch break by the balls and spend it improving our brains!
Make more friends (or less enemies)
As mentioned before, working out at lunch and getting out the office for a solid break can help improve your relations within the office. You’re calmer, succumbing less to stress, and taking out frustrations against a punch bag… rather than a colleague who got out of the wrong side of the bed.
Maintaining relations with your co-workers is incredibly important for a good working environment. Working out with them can also help you forge deeper relationships - forget about ‘co-workers’ and make friends.
Pushing through and supporting one another during tough workouts can lead to bonding and higher levels of happiness in the office. Here’s to higher morale and more effective teamwork!
Forget about those sickies!
It’s a no-brainer that regular exercise improves overall health… it keeps your body fighting fit and your immune system ready to battle any bugs. We all know that when one co-worker turns up with the snivels, it’s a matter of time before it circulates the whole office.
Adults can suffer from 2 - 5 colds per year, which can be a pain in the behind when your deadline is looming but you’re face down in Lemsip and tissues. Working out has so many great impacts on your life - avoiding bugs, colds and flus is one of them. Which your boss might say is the most important one.
Exercise can also positively impact your mental health and reduce depression, anxiety and (of course) stress. Studies have shown that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression for several reasons. Most importantly it promotes changes in the brain that includes neural growth, reduced inflammation and new activity patterns that increases calmness and well-being. Endorphins are also mighty powerful in the face of anxious and stressful times.
So next time the clock hits 1pm, don’t just surf Buzzfeed or Facebook. Don’t just plough lethargically through another task. And don’t just nap in your chair. Get up, jump on the MoveGB app and see what you could be getting up to!
There are plenty of 30 - 45 minutes lunchtime workouts designed specifically to fit with the office workers schedule, so get involved and turn your day around.