Now that the weather is getting better, everyone’s starting to think about how they can look and feel their best. But going for a run before or after a long day at the office isn’t always easy to plan for… much less actually do. Getting up at the crack of dawn for a morning run can seem like torture, and long office hours can make a late night workout even less appealing. Perhaps it’s time to meet in the middle, and make the most of that lunch break!Timing it rightThere’s a lot of hidden benefits to the timing of a lunchtime run. There’s no doubt that exercise is great for the body – and the summer sun provides a boost to your vitamin D levels. But the endorphins from a mid-day workout can give your afternoon a much-needed boost. After lunch, many workers to experience a slump in energy at around 3pm. A recent study by Leeds Beckett University discovered that employees who engaged in 30 minutes of activity during their lunch break didn’t experience avoided the 3pm dip in energy. But adding in lunchtime exercise can result in a 17% improvement in productivity!“By starting off well in the afternoon, it gives you a chance of doing even better later on,” says Jim McKenna, head of the active lifestyles research centre at Leeds Beckett University and author of the study. “If (your workout) gives you pleasure, then that feeling stays with us. It’s a short term emotion but it has a powerful knock on effect for our performance for the rest of the day.”Feeling the burnExercising at work has plenty of other perks besides just the physical benefits. All that muscle-working, exercise supercharges the brain with the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness. People feel better able to handle stress after workout, and are better able to regulate their emotions around the day to day hassles of being in an office. Serotonin is produced during exercise and works in the body to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Friction between colleagues or stress over a project can be dealt with easier in a clearer, post-exercise mindset.The brains behind the brawnThe impact exercise has on learning and productivity can be traced back to behavior in a school playground. “That immediate post-exercise period when the children have been running about in the playground, that’s when they’re at their best for learning,” says McKenna. Applying this to the workplace, employees can feel more engaged with their afternoon tasks.In addition to improved focus, exercise increases brain power by upping the rate of neuron generation, even at very low levels of exertion. “Evolutionary-wise we are designed to produce new brain cells while walking reasonably slowly around the place. Those new brain cells can be deployed immediately to deal with the problems you’re experiencing,” says McKenna. “Effectively, this gives you extra brain power.”Making time for a lunchtime run (or whatever your workout du jour) can boost productivity and positively impact your mood. So crush the 3pm slump and enjoy an energizing fun run in the sun!TRY FREE!