From the April 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Short workouts have lasting effects on body – and mind
By Jeff Galloway
There's no better way to ward off the afternoon slump than going for a lunchtime run. Getting out for as little as 15 minutes invigorates both mind and body – it can reduce stress, stimulate creativity, and activate hormones associated with positive thinking, not to mention help keep you fit. Aim to escape the office every other day; do it for three weeks, and you’ll have formed a perfectly healthy habit. Here’s how to make the most of your midday break.
HIT THE STAIRS
For five minutes, walk up and down one to two flights of stairs. Then run a floor and walk a floor. Walk 30 seconds, then run two floors; walk 30 seconds, then run three floors. Cool down. On your next stair run, repeat the above sequence twice. Each workout, add a set.
You’ll improve faster if you run with a friend or two. Warm up, then do 30 seconds running/30 seconds walking for five minutes. Then take the lead and dictate the pace – run for one to three minutes and walk for a minute. Switch positions. Repeat two to four times. Each workout, add a segment. Over time, extend the length and/or speed of each repeat.
No shower at your workplace? A moderate workout with a long cool down won’t make you too sweaty. Warm up with five to 10 minutes walking. Then alternate 30 seconds running at a very easy pace with 30 seconds walking. Cool down with 10 minutes of walking. Use a towel and wipes to clean up.
USE YOUR CUBE
Make up your own mini-circuit routine to strengthen your core and lower body. In your office, place your hands on the edge of your desk and do 10 to 15 “push-ups.” Do 10 lunges per leg. Resume the push-up position but hold it for 10 to 15 seconds as a plank. Repeat the entire sequence two to four times.
Won't running at noon leave me too tired to work?
As long as you don't overdo it, you should be fine. Avoid fatigue by taking it very easy at first – walk often, keep it slow, and do no more than 10 minutes. As you gradually build your endurance, you will be amazed at how energised you feel in the afternoons.
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