Training Lunchtime Fitness

Lunchtime Fitness

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Runners running in winter city
There’s no better way to crush a mid-day slump than with a noon-hour training session. In fact, research has shown that squeezing in a solid 20 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity can clear your mind and get you back on your A-game when you need it most.“The endorphin release you feel after relatively high intensity workouts is difficult to stifle,” says Art McDonald, an Ontario-based certified exercise physiologist. “You’ll generally be feeling pretty good for the next few hours after your workout, which definitely helps with productivity.” Can’t quite seem to fit in a session every day? Relax, you don’t have to, but you do need to be consistent to achieve results. Aim for three out of five days, and try to stick it out for three weeks, and you’ll notice you’ve got a hankering for more. Here are four ways to make that mid- day fitness break count:

TURN UP THE INTENSITY
While there are many variables involved in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the added calorie burn plus added cardiovascular benefits can’t be denied. HIIT involves exercises that require maximum intensity for a short duration (usually five to 30 seconds) followed by a lengthier period of moderate- intensity exercise. Depending on the duration of the high- intensity period, McDonald says that runners may also find they benefit directly from an increase in speed, and although he recommends people give it a try, you’ll need to watch the frequency, as rest between HIIT sessions is equally important.

A SAMPLE HIIT WORKOUT:
20 seconds jumping squats.
10 second second rest. Repeat 4x. 1 minute rest.
20 seconds mountain climbers.
10 second second rest. Repeat 4x. 1 minute rest.
20 seconds push-ups.
10 second second rest. Repeat 4x. 1 minute rest.
50 seconds side plank.
10 second second rest. Repeat 4x. 1 minute rest.
Repeat other side (plank).
Increase time and repeats as you get stronger.

HEAD FOR THE HILLS (OR STAIRS)
While it may not be likely, if you’ve got running trails with a variety of hills near your place of work then you’re in business. According to McDonald, finding a hill that’s 200 metres or more in distance is perfect for interval training. “Going up and down the same hill is not always the most enjoyable, but it can be effective,” says McDonald, especially when you have limited time. Can’t find a hill? McDonald says a staircase will do the trick, especially if you use it for a 15-minute interval. “Depending on your fitness level, I suggest a lower intensity level and trying to fit in as much time as possible in one direction,” says McDonald, adding that that this approach is the best way to simulate road conditions.

STRETCH IT OUT
Let’s face it, you want to feel refreshed post-workout, which means that making time for stretching is key. “Five- second stretches for comfort are likely all you’ll need,” says McDonald, adding that focusing on hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves is key. In addition, stepping away from your desk every 15 minutes to rehydrate with water can make a big difference.

GRAB YOUR PARTNER
Whether you’re running or strength-training, making your lunch hour your extra fitness time means you may be able
to convince a colleague to join you—and that can be motivating for both of you. That being said, McDonald recommends finding someone who has the same goals and fitness priorities as you do, so you can ensure you’ll be consistent.

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