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A great lunchtime workout

A great lunchtime work out to blow away the cobwebs

January is horrible time of the year for all sorts of reasons. Christmas and its excitement has been and gone; the weather is usually cold and damp; the nights are long and daylight hours are short; and pay-day often seems a long, long way away.

The best answer to January blues is to blast them away with some serotonin-releasing, blood-pumping, heart-rate-raising exercise. This lunchtime workout is designed to be short, sharp and invigorating, although it can easily be adapted to suit longer time slots.

This is a great 30 minute cardio-vascular lunchtime workout that you can do in the gym or outside. It is designed for running, but you can adapt it for cycling or rowing. The cardio-vascular activity is interspersed with strengthening exercises, which, if you are doing this exercise outside may get you a bit muddy [all part of the fun]. It is also the perfect antidote to sitting at a desk under artificial light and you can turn it into a regular office exercise session.

Lunchtime workout session


5-10 minutes of jogging on the spot, stretching the major muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, arms and back), side-stepping and skipping.

2 minutes of gentle jogging as your body gets used to the increased tempo.

5 minutes of jogging at a pace that is 50 per cent of your maximum (you should still be able to hold a conversation as you run).

Stop and do 10 burpees.

5 minutes of running, increasing the pace slightly every minute.

Stop and do 10 push-ups

1 minute of running at 50 per cent of effort, followed by 30 seconds of sprinting.
repeat this pattern five times

Stop and do 10 tricep dips on a bench or fence or tree trunk, followed by 20 alternate leg lunges.

1 minute of running at 50 per cent of effort followed by three minutes as fast was you can.

Slow to a jog and then a walk.

The principle behind this exercise regime is changing the intensity of the exercise regularly. This ‘shocks’ the body into working harder and makes it more efficient at oxygen take up. It is an exercise that you can do in your lunch break as it is ‘short and sharp’. Just make sure that, if the weather has been wet and it is muddy, you can take a shower before you return to your office.

If you have more time then just increase the time you spend on each element proportionally. So, for example, if you have an hour, double the time you spend on each element (except the warm-up).