Wellness Tip of the Day No. 31: Score a Lunchtime Sweat Session

Illustration by Justin Renninger

If for some reason I miss my morning workout, I try to find time to slip away during the afternoon for a lunchtime sweat session. I often have to leave a full inbox and a To-Do list a mile long, but even squeezing in a 30-minute run on the treadmill or a quick strength-training session leaves me feeling happy and energized and a lot more efficient when I return to work.

Why are lunchtime workouts so important? The longer you wait to work out, the greater the chance that you will not work out at all. By the time you leave for the day you’re mentally and physically tired, which makes going to the gym or hitting that yoga class all the more difficult—which is why so many people start the day with good intentions and never end up meeting them.

Here are a few quick tips for making the Lunchtime Sweat Session feasible:

1. If you have the luck of having a semi-flexible schedule, see if you can take a slightly longer lunch break and make up for the time by coming in a little bit earlier or leaving a little bit later that day. An extra 30 minutes goes a long way toward making the trip to and from the gym or class that much easier and less stressful, and you’ll be much happier to stay at your desk an extra half hour at the end of a long day than to hoof it to the gym for an intense workout.

2. If your lunchtime workouts aren’t the only time you work out, cross off a strength-training workout rather than a cardio session. You’ll sweat less and may be able to get away with a quick refresher in the locker room rather than a full-out shower.

3. Pack lunch that day. You won’t want to waste time standing in line on the way back to work. When you brown-bag it, you can swing by the fridge before you even sit down and (this is one exception where I think it’s okay to eat at your desk since you used your actual lunch break to workout!), can refuel while you check the emails you missed while you were out.

4. Keep a few go-to toiletries in your desk drawer. An extra stick of deodorant and face wipes—I personally love Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Facial Cleansing Wipes —can be a huge help in case you ever forget to toss them in your gym bag before you head out the door.

— Jenna Bergen, health and fitness editor of Philadelphia magazine and editor of BeWellPhilly.com