Put some punch in your lunch

Got 30 minutes to spare at lunchtime? Then you also have the time to work on your health and wellbeing via a quick escapade. Try these ideas.

Get wrapped

Fancy lying down for 25 minutes wrapped in a suit that promises deep relaxation, lymphatic drainage and improved blood circulation? It's a new spa craze called Presor-03 Therapy, in which air is pumped into the suit, compressing parts of your lower body and abdomen at intervals. It costs $75 a session.

Javier Araujo, the head chef at the restaurant in Next Generation Pool and Gym in Ryde, Sydney, uses the Presor at the SK Skin Clinic under the pool deck and says it helps him relax and increases his energy levels.

"The Presor gives intensive relaxation and it feels like someone has given me a full body massage, a heap of antioxidants and vitamins after I have it," says Araujo, 26.

"I don't get many breaks over my day and the Presor is an efficient way to pick me up. Sometimes I drift off to sleep during the treatment.

"If I start work at 7am and have a 14-hour day, I use it after the busy lunch rush so I have the energy for the evening shift."

Presor Therapy is available in Skeyndor Skin Clinics (1800 554 545) or via www.vogueimage.com.au

Go networking

Wish you had time for networking, but can't make morning meetings and want to be home with the family in the evenings? Try speed networking in your lunch break.

One organiser, Adrian Abrate, a 33-year-old Sydney business development executive at NCC Group, says lunchtime networking has become so popular that one free meeting he runs for 50 people is now held monthly.

"We get a mix of small business owners, project managers and general businessmen and women," Abrate says. "It's bit like speed dating – you get four minutes as a pair and move on to talk to different members every time the bell rings. If you find a connection you want to pursue, there's 10 minutes at the end to continue it or swap cards to take it further.

"I created this event as a way to maximise your downtime. Your lunchtime is generally unproductive and I thought, 'Why waste time eating when you can do something productive in your break?'

"We ask people not to eat during the hour as it's hard to talk with a mouthful. People usually eat on the run so they can make the most of their time."

Visit meetup.com for more information.

Take a 30-minute work out

Thirty-minute workouts are booming according to Marie Anagnostis, a spokeswoman for Les Mills – the inventors of CXWORX and Grit Strength, which have taken off in hundreds of gyms nationally.

"There's no fluff, just a hard, functional workout," she says. "They are ideal for lunchtime as you can be in and out, showered and back at work within an hour."

CXWORX is a high-intensity workout for the core and buttocks and claims an average caloric burn of 230 calories over 30 minutes. Launched two years ago, it's now a regular feature at 424 gyms.

Meanwhile, 133 gyms have started Grit Strength 30-minute workouts. They involve interval training program using weights, which means you push hard for 30 or 60 seconds and then work less intensely for the next 30 or 60 seconds.

"People are looking for more time-efficient ways to work out, especially during business hours and have found GRIT Strength fills this gap," Anagnostis says. "What the 30-minute sessions lack in time, they make up in intensity. We are seeing fantastic results from both CXWORX and GRIT Strength."

Donate blood

Want to do more for the world, but don't have the time? The Red Cross regularly runs short of blood and anyone aged 16-70 can donate as long as they aren't sick and haven't donated in the previous 12 weeks (plasma donors can donate every two to three weeks).

Donating takes about 10 minutes and it's best to rest for 15 minutes afterwards while you are given a drink and snack. Remember to drink three glasses of water in the three hours beforehand, and bring identification.

For more information, call 13 1495 to find out where you can donate.

Sleep on the job

The Spanish have been doing it for centuries – napping mid-afternoon to extend their working day into the evening. Now some US firms, including Google, have installed alien-like sleep pods so workers can get some shut-eye during their work day.

Science backs up the value of a daytime sleep, with one UK study finding a quick powernap is better for overcoming afternoon tiredness than a hit of caffeine or an extra-long sleep-in.

The study, presented to an international sleep conference in Cairns, involved 14 good sleepers who tested out three popular options for beating the natural mid-afternoon dip in the body clock.

On different days, participants were trialled with either 90 minutes of extra sleep time in the morning, a 20-minute nap at 2pm or a cup of coffee at 2.30pm.

The researchers from Loughborough University in the UK compared these fatigue-beating techniques with doing nothing, and analysed how each affected the person's levels of alertness right throughout the day to the evening.

How do you make your lunch break count?