7 Ways to Have a Healthier Lunch Break

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What do you do during your lunch break at work? If you’d like to spend the time wisely doing something that will benefit your health, we’ve got seven fantastic ideas for you.

Do you use your lunch break to relax, shop, snooze, read, or catch up on work? If it’s the latter, you should know that research shows that it’s good for you to take a break from your desk and switch off from work. Here at Snackwize, we think it’s a great idea to spend your lunch hour doing something that is good for your health and wellbeing. We know that most people don’t want to spend every single lunch break at the gym, so we’ve got some unique suggestions to help you maximise your precious time.  

Exercise in the Office 

You don’t have to go to the gym to get some exercise. You can work your core and your abs while standing in the office. If you’re conscious of how you look, find somewhere quiet. However, you might find your colleagues are so impressed that they want to join in with your mini workout. 

Warm up: stretch your arms up to the ceiling, circle them backwards and reach down to your toes.

Squats: Standing at your desk, sit down and stand up 10 times without touching your seat; you’ll be doing squats

Tricep Dips: You can work your arms by leaning against your desk. Lean forward in a plank at a 45-degree angle and perform a press up, keeping your back straight and your abs tight. 

Side Obliques: Stand with your feet wide apart and your knees slightly bent. Paddle your arms as if you’re paddling a canoe, with your hands clasped, to work your side obliques. 

Crunches: With standing cross crunches, you lift one leg slightly off the ground and slightly out to the side and raise your opposite arm above your head. Slowly crunch so your elbow moves towards your lifted knee. 

Side Abdominals: To work side abdominals, place an object like a long umbrella across the top of your upper back. Your hands hold the stick with your elbows facing down. Keep your hip facing forward and twist your upper torso from side to side. 

Check Out a New Gym Class 

If pumping weights at the gym isn’t your thing, don’t despair; there are plenty of other activities to try, some of which you may not have heard about. These days, a workout at the gym is about much more than treadmills and boring reps. 

•   Like cycling? Spin classes will have you pedalling your way to fitness on a bike in the comfort of an air-conditioned gym.

•   How about dancing? Zumba fuses Latin rhythms and fitness moves for a calorie-burning workout. 

•   Retrosweat gets you dancing to 80s music, working up a sweat and getting fit while having fun.

•   Trampolining shouldn’t be just for kids. Trampo-Line Jumping Fitness combines aerobic movements, dance and bouncing on a mini-trampoline. 

•  For something really different, indoor climbing walls give you a great full body workout.

•   FloatFit involves yoga-inspired moves while you float on a platform in a pool. Great for the hot weather. 

•   Fancy yourself as a bit of a trapeze artist? AerialFit suspends you from the ceiling from hoops, silks fabrics or a trapeze while you perform yoga moves. 

Other suggestions: pilates, dance fitness, strength training, boxing, rowing, and cycling. The best thing to do is Google your local gym and see what takes your fancy.   

Remember that you will need to replenish the energy you have used up during your workout. Make sure you eat lunch and have a supply of healthy, nutritious snacks for the afternoon. Snackwize has lots of nut-based snacks for you to enjoy in your monthly or fortnightly Snack Box, including: Shelby’s Dipped and Dusted Almonds, Peanut Berry Luvsum Protein Balls, and Paleo Cashew Caramel Luvsum Protein Balls. 

Lace Up Your Running Shoes  

Aerobic exercises are activities that produce energy by combining oxygen with blood glucose or body fat. That means they’re great for weight control and fitness. 

Running and jogging are forms of aerobic exercises. As well as burning kilojoules and helping you to maintain a healthy weight, running and jogging improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles, and builds strong bones.

If you’re running in Sydney, you can combine a lakeside, cliffside or parkside run with a stretch in one of the city’s free outdoor gyms. Plan out your route in advance so you know you can complete your run and get back to work in time to cool down and rehydrate. A 6 km run should be achievable within an hour, and you’ll burn off around 500 calories. Don’t forget to take water to drink and to wear sunscreen and appropriate sun protective clothing. 

Take a Steady Walk 

Don’t want to get hot and sweaty during your lunch break? Walk instead. Walking is one of the most popular forms of activity in Australia. It helps to reduce stress, keeps you healthy, and gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine. In addition, walking is free, suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and has a very low risk of injury. It can even lead to new relationships and some great conversations as you stroll along with likeminded companions! 

If you would like to walk with someone else, you could arrange your own walking group at work. Send your colleagues an email, put up a poster in the staff room, or post your intentions on social media or the intranet. Alternatively, you can visit the Heart Foundation website to find a group to walk with near you; there are 285 walking groups in New South Wales, 223 in Victoria, and 100 in Western Australia. 

It’s a great idea to plot a route; you should be able to walk about five kilometres in an hour, but you might want to walk at a slower pace or finish in less than an hour to give you time to eat lunch. Plan your walk accordingly. 

If you’re walking at a gentle pace, you could take a snack with you to eat as you walk, as well as a drink of water. It’s also good to monitor your steps to see how far you’ve walked; the Heart Foundation has a free walking app you can download. You’ll get rewards for every step you take, and there are challenges and prize draws to keep you motivated. If you walk on your lunch break every day, you’ll soon clock up the kilometres. 

Go For a Swim 

Whether you choose to swim at the beach, in a swimming pool, or in an ocean pool, most experts agree that swimming is good for you. A low-impact activity, swimming provides a great cardiovascular workout, exercises the whole body including the arms, back and shoulders, and has many physical and mental health benefits. It can even assist people with their asthma. Depending on your weight and swim stroke, you can expect to burn around 400 calories if you swim for an hour at a moderate pace. 

If you don’t want to swim lengths, you can try an aqua aerobics, FloatFit or water cycling class at the swimming pool. 

The great thing about swimming is that a shower is freely available afterwards so you can freshen up and get back to work soonest. You’ll need to consume carbohydrate and protein-rich foods after your swim to make sure you have plenty of energy to perform your best when you’re back at work. Snackwize includes lots of protein packed snacks in our Snack Boxes. 

Meditate and Practice Mindfulness 

Meditation is an umbrella term for a range of practices which are designed to promote a calm state of mind. The Latin term meditari means to ‘reflect upon’. During meditation, depending on the aim of your particular practice, you might concentrate on one of a number of things, including your breathing, visual objects, music, natural sounds, or sensations. 

As well as enhancing feelings of calm, meditation helps to alleviate stress and anxiety, and maximises wellbeing. Experts say that results can be seen after just one session; you will soon notice that you have a better ability to focus. Just 10 minutes of meditation can help recharge energy and improve concentration and you don’t need to be spiritual or recite a mantra. Here’s how to meditate at work during your lunch break:

1.        Close your eyes.

2.        Breathe in through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth. 

3.        Repeat.

4.        Concentrate on your breathing. 

5.        Your pulse rate will start to slow down.

6.        Imagine blowing away distracting thoughts as they enter your mind.

Stay Away From Fast Food

Having a healthier lunch break isn’t just about what you do, it’s also about what you eat and drink. Even if you don’t have time to make your lunch at home every single day, try to prepare a healthy lunch at least once or twice a day. You’ll need to put some time in the night before to shop for your ingredients and prepare your food, and you’ll need somewhere cool to store it.

Here are some ideas to whet your appetite:

•          Pulled pork or beef in a wholegrain roll.

•          Brown rice and quinoa with grated carrot and sliced shallots.

•          Noodles or pasta with lots of veggies.

•          Soba noodles and coleslaw with toasted sunflower seeds and chicken. 

•          Canned salmon or tuna with a green salad. 

•          Drained, canned lentils with roasted veggies and feta cheese. 

If your best-laid plans don’t work out and you don’t manage to bring your own food to work, at least make a conscious effort to stay away from fast food and choose a healthier option instead. You could have days where you avoid sugar, drink only water, or you eat more fruit and veg than you usually would. 

You can avoid temptation by having healthy snacks freely available at work.  Get in touch with Snackwize to learn more about our subscription Snack Boxes for delivery across Australia. 

Conor Reynolds