At Fernwood HQ, we think any time of day is a good time to work out – it’s one of the many reasons the majority of our gyms are open 24 hours a day. As long as you’re moving, we really don’t mind when you choose to hit the gym.
There are benefits to working out before you head into work and benefits to working out after you’ve finished for the day. But if you have a particularly busy schedule, taking a midday break from your desk for a little huff ‘n puff definitely has its advantages.
Here are our top seven reasons why midday power workouts can be particularly beneficial:
1. Boosts your mood and energy levels
Exercise releases endorphins – those feel good neurotransmitters which produce a general feeling of wellbeing. Couple that with the invigorating feeling that comes post-workout and you’ll be flying through your afternoon meetings.
2. Creates more free time
If you hit the gym at lunchtime, you don’t need to wake up early to squeeze in a morning workout session, or head to the gym after work during those last precious hours of sunlight. Plus, if you’re usually an afternoon exerciser, working out in the middle of the day means you’re less likely to find excuses to put off exercise between lunchtime and the end of the day.
3. Reduces your chance of illness
It seems counterproductive to say that engaging in physical activity at lunchtime will reduce your chance of illness and injury, but sitting for long periods of time has been linked to increased risk of premature death, particularly from cardiovascular disease. It is also associated with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cancer. An Australian study published in the journal Circulation found that for every hour that a person spends sitting, their individual risk of death from all causes rose 11 per cent, their risk of death from cardiovascular disease rose 18 per cent and their risk of dying from cancer, 9 per cent. Could there be a better reason to step away from the desk?
4. Saves money
You can’t head to a café if you’re spending your lunch breaks at the gym, which means you’re not going to be spending your hard earned cash on store-bought food. Save the cash and spend it on something you really want.
5. Saves kilojoules
As well as saving money from avoiding buying your lunch, you’ll also be doing a favour to your waistline. The food we make at home is always going to be healthier than the meals available from the corner store or local café. It only takes a couple of minutes to prep a healthy, fresh salad at home. You don’t even need to spend time chopping: throw some rocket, spinach, and cherry tomatoes into a lunchbox with some canned beans, corn kernels and tuna and you’re ready to go.
6. Reduces stress
Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress – so taking a break in the middle of the day to work up a sweat is a great way to deal with looming deadlines and difficult co-workers. When we exercise, our brains produce more serotonin, a chemical which acts as a mood stabiliser to help to relieve depression and reduce stress.
7. Improves your problem solving skills
Sometimes a situation crops up early in the workday that needs a great deal of brainpower to solve. When this happens, the best solution is to engage in a little lunchtime sweat session. When our blood flow and oxygen levels are increased, the brain creates new synapses – or connections – that improve our cognitive performance, helping us to solve tricky problems at work.