“There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” How often do you utter that justification for not devoting enough time to your health? But all you really need to improve your health and change your life is one hour a day – and that hour is already worked into most people’s schedules: your lunch hour. Rather than using this time to scoff down an unhealthy takeaway, there are loads of things you could be doing to become a healthier person – and to energise yourself for the second half of the working day.
Here are five ways you can change your life, one hour at a time.
Eat a home-cooked healthy lunch
Eating processed fast foods is one of the unhealthiest things you can do to your body. But more often than not, this is exactly what you do, day after day. The key to eating wholesome food at the office is preparation at home, so make yourself a delicious lunch box the night before, either from scratch, or from leftovers from your healthy home-cooked dinner.
Read more: why home cooking will change your life.
Take a walk or climb some stairsThe easiest way to get fit and healthy is just to move your body. Lots of people give up on exercise because they can’t regularly schedule in a full workout with a combination of weight training, cardio and stretching. But just making the time to move a little each day is enough to substantially reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Use your lunch break to take a walk around your office block, or spend half an hour walking up and down your building’s stairs. Get a Fitbit or a phone app to measure your progress. And see if you can get a colleague involved to keep you motivated.
Do a desk workout or stretching routineIf it isn’t really realistic for you to leave the office, there are loads of tutorials for desk-based workouts online. You can try this guided 15-minute workout, or these stretches to relieve desk-based body strain – vital for people who spend the day in front of the computer. In fact, you should do these stretches throughout the day – not just over your lunch break.
Use the time for meditation Sometimes, the best thing you can do with your lunch break is to de-stress through meditation. Meditation has the benefits of lowering your blood pressure, decreasing anxiety and tension, improving mood and immunity as well as helping you to get a good night’s sleep. If there’s a pleasant office park where you work or even an empty boardroom near your desk, use your lunch break to find inner peace. Or you can try these three desk-based meditations.
Do breathing exercises Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing, so if you are not breathing deeply, you are not efficiently detoxifying. At the same time, deep breathing introduces more oxygen to the blood, which improves the functioning of your muscles, mind and immune system. For these reasons, it is important to make a conscious effort not to shallow-breathe throughout the day, and also to dedicate some time to targeted breathing exercises. And what better time for that than your lunch hour?
The hour that will last you a lifetime Your lunchbreak is just one hour a day, but if you use it wisely, it will have positive, far-ranging effects on your day and life. This extra hour a day is life’s little gift to you. Don’t waste it!