If you think sneaking in a workout during your lunch break is a guilty pleasure, think again. Research actually suggests that mid-day workouts can increase mood, energy, and productivity, and we’ll go ahead and argue that all of these things are good for you and your company’s bottom line.
Want some specifics to back you up the next time your boss asks you what you did during lunch? Check out these evidenced-based explanations below.
3 Reasons Why A Midday Workout Benefits Your Brain, Body & Work Performance
1. Cognitive function tends to increase after a day-time sweat sesh, potentially by as much as 5-10%.
What could this mean for you? Better creativity, better focus, better problem-solving, and better recall, to name a few. Research even shows that children and adults who workout after a study session will retain more information, meaning that the important data you’ve been slaving over all morning is more likely to be stored in your brain if you workout during your lunch break instead of flicking through your social media.
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2. A daytime workout may actually help you get the most out of your training.
There’s a bit of debate about what time in the day is best for working out, and individual variability is likely high. But since body temperature seems to increase a degree or few around mid-day, it’s possible that this can help loosen up your muscles and joints, thereby enhancing your performance while minimizing the risk of injury.
Just keep in mind that every workout should be preceded by a proper warm-up (especially if you’ve been sitting in a chair all morning) as well as a good cool down.
3. Working out during lunch can make your afternoon productivity soar.
This is likely a function of a midday workout’s ability to enhance cognitive performance and cause an increase in job satisfaction, according to studies done on the subject. And since happy employees tend to be harder working employees, it’s no wonder that the mood-improving benefits of an intense workout can really make you stand out among your colleagues.
A word to the wise: Some research suggests that those of us who are super stressed may actually experience a decrease in productivity after a midday workout sesh. To mitigate this, know thyself. Figure out ways you can reduce your stress levels on the job (especially if you work in a high-stress environment), get plenty of sleep, and be sure to find time elsewhere in the day to get your workout in.
After all, a post-work workout can be way more stress-busting than always joining in on happy hour.