When a shiny new gym opened at the New York end of Collins Street (that’s near Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station), Angelika Langer-Zindel was one of the first members to join-up. It took another six months for her to recruit a work gym buddy, Diana Tanvis Loi. While there are a few fitness junkies amongst us in the workplace, these two colleagues who both work in our Shared Services team (Accounts Receivable and Payroll respectively), are often seen heading off to exercise together at lunchtimes. I asked what motivates them beyond the Healthy Me, Healthy You program we instigated at Slade Group last year.
Why do you choose to work out in-between work?
Angelika: At my local gym I was missing all the fitness classes – there were only one or two classes I could do. If I was late home from work, I missed them altogether. So it’s much more convenient for me to go at lunchtime.
Diana: Same as Angelika, I used to go to 6am classes at my local gym, but it’s just too hard and I started missing my trains to work.
Why go to the gym together?
Diana: At this gym, they have a rock climbing wall facility and it is definitely more fun to climb with a buddy and also safer, as we make sure that each other’s harnesses are secure.
How do you manage to change into your gym gear, then get back into work clothes, as well as fit in a 45 minute class within your lunch hour?
Angelika: There is no time for showers, so we don’t do classes that are too high intensity. A spin class is a definite no. I have short hair, so I don’t have any problems. If you have a complicated haircut, it just doesn’t work!
Diana: Definitely no body combat for me, or I’d sweat. Athleisure is a new trend in fashion – you can wear a hybrid tank top to work out and put a blazer over it to dress it back up for the office. We also have nice change rooms with free towels and showers in our building, but I generally use the facilities at the gym.
Do you miss doing other things at lunchtime? When do you actually eat your lunch?
Angelika: Not really. Doing a lunchtime class is good break; sitting all day is definitely not healthy.
Diana: Most of us only walk a few steps from our desk each day.
Angelika: It means eating at your desk, which is not the best habit, but you have to compromise. I always eat after exercising – if I eat too much before, I feel sick, so it’s good for weight management.
I see a lot people carrying gym bags on their commute. Is fitness amongst corporate types becoming more popular?
Angelika: I think so. A lot of the classes where we go are fully booked, so it seems that others are sharing the same habits as us.
Diana: I think more and more deskbound professionals are finding it really unhealthy to be sitting up to 8-10 hours a day. Employers are also becoming more aware of this and allowing flexible work arrangements.
What are some of the less obvious benefits to including exercise in your work schedule?
Diana: I spend a lot less money on shopping since I started going to the gym!
Angelika: That’s right, when you work in the city, you go shopping at lunchtime.
Diana: It’s also a great way to release your pent-up frustration. I don’t think about work at all while I’m exercising and by the time I’m finished I’ve forgotten whatever I was worried about.
Both: We are still recruiting if anyone is interested to join our lunchtime habits!
Have you been taking active lunch breaks? What are some of the healthy practices you have incorporated into your work schedule?