Fitting a workout into your lunch break might be the last thing you want to do after a hard morning. Dashing to the gym, getting changed, having a twenty-minute workout and a quick shower before dashing back to the office and resuming work can seem like just too much. Why not save the physical exercise for evenings and weekends and use your lunch break to give your brain a workout instead? Brain training exercises are fun and help improve your memory and concentration skills over time, leaving you ready to tackle whatever the afternoon throws at you.
You can find plenty of memory games online or you can get together with a co-worker to create your own. If there are two or more of you playing, get one person to be ‘IT’. The other player (or players) has one minute to try and memorise every object on a particular desk. They then look away whilst ‘IT’ removes one item. The other players must try and guess what is missing. The first to guess gets to be ‘IT’ next time. This is harder than it sounds and highly addictive.
Grab a newspaper on your way to work and spend your lunch break tackling the crossword. Whether you’re a cryptic whiz-kid or simply like the ten minute teasers, playing around with words and deciphering clues gets your synapses firing. Get the whole office involved and see how quickly you can finish a particular crossword as a team each day, then graduate onto a slightly harder one once you have it down to less than twenty minutes. Many papers also have other word puzzles such as word polygons. These ask you to find as many words as you can of three or more letters from a square of nine letters, which is another good one to get colleagues involved in.
The word tangram comes from Chinese, and literally translated means ‘seven boards of skill’. You can buy them in most toy and game shops or download printable versions from the internet to make your own. They consist of seven pieces of thin board or wood, each with its own unique size and shape. The object is to use all seven pieces to create a pre-determined shape based on a silhouette. Sounds easy, right? Have a go yourself and you will soon be spending many enjoyable hours trying to just get that last piece right…
Spend your lunch break pretending to be spies and undercover agents from your office chairs and give your brains a good workout at the same time. Cryptograms are ciphers (codes) where one letter of the alphabet has been replaced by another with some sort of pattern. You then write each other messages and try to crack the codes. For example, you could write the alphabet backwards for one, so A becomes Z, B becomes Y etc.