Fitness

Great Lunch Break Fitness Dates

I used to think the idea of hitting a fitness class over my lunch break was ludicrous. The idea of getting all sweaty and heading back to work wasn’t at all appealing—while the much needed time to reset my mind and body was very welcome, indeed. After all, studies show that breaking for a bit of physical fitness mid-day day leads to higher productivity and lower rates of stress and burnout.

Luckily, the following seven workout options are popular as mid-day forms of exercise because they work up little perspiration in 30- and 60-minutes, which is just covered by the average lunchtime break…

Yoga

Luckily, certain forms of yoga afford you the option to challenge your strength and flexibility without getting all sweaty and gross. Plus, I don’t usually require a shower after a Hatha, Yin, or Restoration type yoga class, where the main focus isn’t flow (like in Ashtanga or Power yoga).

Look to more restorative type of yoga for a great opportunity to stretch and relax midday.  Not only will you give your muscles a nice all-over-body stretch after sitting at a desk all morning but you’ll give your mind a good break to help re-invigorate your productivity and focus levels for the afternoon ahead.

Pilates

Akin to yoga, Pilates is rather low-intensity while still providing a form total-body exercise that works to lengthen, stretch and strengthen your muscles from head to toe—using all the major muscle groups in total-body, total-balanced method.

Like in yoga, you’re asked to work at your own pace in Pilates, which means the muscles are never stressed to exhaustion and you won’t normal sweat all over your mat. As you go through the variety of exercise sequences in Pilates, you’ll notice that along with your body—your mind is also being challenged to focus and block out external stresses from your day.

Barre

This graceful, ballet-inspired workout takes elements from yoga, dance, and Pilates to challenge your body with a series of low-impact, flexibility, and strength training moves. Getting to the barre over lunch builds confidence and offers a challenging, full-body strength workout—minus the need to mop up the floor with your perspiration.

Like yoga and Pilates, a barre workout focuses on the core, which means improving posture and alignment, which are welcome for desk jockeys or those who stand or perform repetitive movements all day long. You’ll also get a good dose of cardio, strength, and stretch at the barre that aims to boost metabolism.

TRX

Despite the amazing full body, strength training workout you’ll get from TRX (suspension training), you won’t sweat a ton all over the gym. TRX is a form of exercise that uses suspension training straps inside a fixed frame structure, and using a series of pulleys.

The body weight exercises will work you head to toe—from biceps and chest to rows and squats—you’ll curl, push, pull, and row over your lunch hour for an amazing total body break that is often under an hour.

Ab Class

Ab class, core class, or crunch class—whatever it’s dubbed at your gym—you can tell by the name that this lunchtime break will focus on your midsection. Even though you’ll find yourself challenged with a series of crunches, abdominal curls, planks, and core twisty moves, you won’t break into too much of a sweat in an abdominal-focused class.

Plus, the great thing about core classes is that they usually last between 15- and 30-minutes in duration, which is the perfect midday workout to whittle your middle while fitting perfectly into a lunchtime break.

Go For a Run

Don’t forget to take your sneakers to work! It will give you the perfect excuse to use your lunchtime for a brisk run of 20- to 30-minutes. If your office has shower facilities—great—however, if you tuck a towel, body wash, and a stick of deodorant in your knapsack, it will be plenty to help you freshen up to office level appropriateness post-run.

According to research from WebMD, a shocking 75-percent of American individuals are vitamin D deficient. However, just 5- to 15-minutes per day exercising outside (exposing your face and neck) will provide you with nutrient levels needed to lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, several autoimmune disorders, and stroke (depending on the time of day, location, and skin type).

Aqua Aerobics

One of the smartest ways to avoid getting sweaty at the gym is to hit the pool. This way you’ll still get a killer cardiovascular workout—without returning to work a sweaty mess. To save time simply cover your dry hair with a bathing cap and shower after pool use to rid yourself of that chlorine smell.

If you have a swimming pool near your place of work, count yourself lucky. If you have an hour for lunch, you can sign up for a daily intensive aqua fitness class or swim laps for 30-minutes over your lunch hour and still get in great aerobic workout and a quick shower before you have to return to the office.

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Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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