Pros and Cons of Lunchtime Workouts

By Brandon.wiggins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brandon.wiggins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Lunchtime has become my go-to workout time for the past few weeks. And while it’s been a bit of an adjustment, taking an hour to zone out and do something physical in the middle of the day actually helps me focus on my work in the afternoon.

Since this blog is about balancing health (of all sorts) and hedonism (of the food variety), it seems only right to write about what I do to ensure I can eat things like triple-chocolate brownies and salami chips. Here’s a list of lunchtime workout pros and cons, for those of you considering switching your morning or evening workout to lunchtime:

Pros:

  • Enhanced focus at work. A 2007 study from Oregon State University found that as little as a 15-minute break for physical activity sharpened focus and concentration in children. Who wants to bet it works on adults, too?
  • More time in the morning/evening. Finding time in the middle of the day to work out can either give you some extra sleep in the morning or more time for errands and healthy cooking in the evening. I found that I’m more likely to exercise when my workout isn’t competing with all of the other things I have to get done after work.
  • More sunshine. My neighborhood is next to a mountain, so it gets dark at about 4:30 p.m. in the early spring and late fall. When I run outside at lunch, it’s warmer and I get more Vitamin D — which, I guess, could help you lose weight?
  • More energy. I have more energy in the middle of the day than either the morning or the evening, so I know I’m hitting every workout at my peak. Plus, exercise can help you beat the afternoon slump by boosting your energy afterward.
  • More money, fewer calories. Since beginning to work out at lunch, I’ve had to pack my lunch, which is great — less chance of overeating, and I’m saving a ton of money on eating out.

By U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt Araceli Alarcon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt Araceli Alarcon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cons:

  • Sweat. Yeah, gross. Working hard means sweat, which can make you feel gross for the rest of the day. If you don’t have time to shower, try a dry shampoo and cleansing wipes. This is a great, simple article on how to fake a shower after a workout. Also…bring an extra pair of underpants for after. That will help.
  • Limited time. You’re locked into that hour, and if you need to drive to your gym, that can take a serious chunk out of your workout time. You can find a high-intensity, low-time workout — or you can see if your supervisor is okay with you staying late/coming in early to make up for a little bit of extra time in the middle of the day.
  • Logistics. It can be complicated to make sure I have all of my workout gear in my backpack, my iPod charged and ready to go, my interval workout printed up and my lunch packed. But with a little planning, it gets easier and easier. I try to prepare everything the night before, making my morning and my lunch hour go much more smoothly.
  • Putting on pants afterward. The hardest part of my workout sometimes? Changing out of leggings or shorts into business attire. Why can’t jeans be as comfy as spandex?

Do you work out at lunch? What pros and cons have you found?

 

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