Five lunchtime workouts to beat the 3pm slump

It's 3pm and you're at your desk, feeling like you're ready to go home. By this time of day, your energy levels have dropped so low that a nap seems like the only feasible option to get you through until 5pm. But there is a better way to beat the dreaded 3pm slump – use your lunchtime more wisely! Fitting a workout that takes less than 30 minutes into your lunchbreak is the perfect way to re-energise your day, boost your mood and leave you feeling ready to take on the afternoon's workload.

Lunchtime workouts are great if the idea of getting up at 5am for a spin class doesn't do anything for you. If you're one of those people who are too tired to head to the gym after work, or if you dread morning workouts, try a lunchtime exercise regime. Stepping away from your desk helps to lower stress levels – you can always stay behind an extra 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the day to catch up on work, if needed.

There are no excuses, such as, “I don't have time to exercise at lunchtime.” If you get an hour for your break, these five under-30-minutes workout ideas are perfect; head for the gym, your nearest park or exercise in your office, the choice is yours.

Sprinting session

Nobody said this was going to be easy, but you can burn off around 250 calories at lunchtime with a running session. All you need is a pair of trainers and some workout gear – you can do this anywhere, but a nearby park is ideal.

  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Jog for 2 minutes
  • Repeat this sprint/jog interval 5 more times
  • Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Jog for 1 minute
  • Repeat this interval 5 more times
  • Cool down with a 3-minute walk.

Group classes

Classes are one of the best ways to workout at lunchtime, as you'll be motivated not only by the instructor, but also by other people; you may even find a regular workout buddy! Bikram yoga, pilates or spin classes are held at most gyms and are the perfect way to de-stress, get fit and focus.


Meeting on-the-go

If you're super-busy and really can't afford to leave your work behind you even for half an hour, why not organise a meeting-on-the-go? Pack a few notes or files and conduct a walking meeting with a co-worker, or even head for the gym and go through the morning's work with a treadmill workout. Just don't let things get too intense or you may be too breathless to discuss business! Just 30 minutes of activity a day can help you stay fit and healthy.


Try circuit training

Circuit training is a great way to burn calories and just 20 minutes, three times a week gives great results. You'd be surprised at how many exercises you can carry out in the comfort of your office, or head to your local park when the weather is nice. Take a co-worker to keep you motivated, and don't forget to pack healthy, high-protein options for lunch such as chicken salad, eggs or tuna and of course a bottle of water.


Use your surroundings

If you have a low-use interior staircase at your work or there are outside stairs at your local park, you'll find stairs are the perfect place for a lunchtime workout. Here's how to do it:

Cardio circuit

Warm up for 3 minutes by walking up and down stairs

Spend 1 minute walking upstairs as fast as you can

Then spend 1 minute walking down at an easy pace


Strength circuit

Step ups and squats are a great way to boost your fitness and you can use the stairs as you would a box or bench.

Try to fit in three cardio circuits and two strength circuits for a balance workout. The beauty of this type of workout is that you can tailor it to suit your available time.

Next time you feel yourself losing the ability to focus at 3pm, plan a lunchtime workout for the next day. You'll notice the energy boost almost straight away, and after a week you should be feeling healthier and more energised. Bye-bye mid-afternoon slump!


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