When you live the fast-paced life that many Londoners do, it can be hard to find time to take exercise before and after work. When that alarm goes off in the morning, you have to be a particularly steely character to leap out of bed and go to gym. Worse, after work is a whole different story, with temptations to nip to the pub or head straight home to put your feet up with a glass of wine and a movie. There is another option however – some lunchtime exercise, and there are a surprising number of sporting activities that you can participate in during your lunch hour- here are few ideas for things that you can do if you want to stay fit:
If you crave the competitiveness of a kick-around there are a lot of well-established 5-a-side football leagues in London which hold matches at lunchtime, presided over by FA-qualified referees. Many facilities have modern rubber crumb pitches indoors and outdoors, decent changing facilities and even bars – you’ll find them in convenient locations such as Docklands, Old Street and Tottenham.
If you don’t fancy the rough and tumble of five-a-side (and games can get quite aggressive sometimes!) you can always opt to shoot some hoops instead. Again there are facilities across town which offer lunchtime leagues – Canary Wharf, for example, hosts a very popular Friday lunchtime netball league and would you believe that St Botolphs church at Bishopsgate in the City of London boasts its own netball court!
Perfect if you’re feeling a bit wound-up and need to release some energy, a lunchtime boxing session might be the right option. A great stress reliever, this particular sport provides conditioning and cardio workouts – you’ll have no problem finding facilities as gyms across Central London offer classes. Of course if you’re really brave you could have a crack at it’s big brother – boxing. There are a surprising number of long-standing boxing gyms right in the heart of London – Rooney’s and Gleason’s both have colourful histories.
Running offers intense cardio-vascular exercise, and given that London is the greenest capital in Europe there are no shortage of places where you can get away from the traffic and go on a long run – wander around the parks and gardens of central London at lunchtime and you’re bound to come across runners wherever you go. Given the number of half-marathons and marathons that take place in the city this particular form of exercise can also give you something significant to aim for – being one of the 35,000+ participants in the annual London Marathon must be a really unique experience, and you get the opportunity to fundraise for charity at the same time.
OK, so if you’re worn out by reading this far then there are some rather more gentle opportunities for exercise during your lunch-hour – you could get involved in the old and rather more sedate sport of bowls. Finsbury Square on the edge of the City has its own bowling green where you can participate during lunch – there are several leagues as well as opportunities to just turn up and play. Sadly, it used to be one of two in this part of London but Crossrail put paid to that – the City of London Bowling Club has been without a permanent base for the last few years as its home, Finsbury Circus, is now dominated by the rail project’s concrete mixers and equipment…