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Relax After Work

The phone has run incessantly for three and-a-half hours and your computer has crashed a Record eight times in a morning. With things only likely to get worse, you're forced to treat lunchtime like a pit-stop in the Grand Prix that is your working day:

0-10 minutes Make a bid to escape. "Leaving the office and taking a walk will get your circulation moving and liven you up," says Dr. Stephen Palmer, director of the center for stress management in Sheffield.

10-12 minutes put it all behind you. "The best way to switch off quickly is to immerse yourself in something completely detached, like a good book," says Dr. Palmer.

12-40 minutes find yourself a comfortable bench. Short stories are the perfect length for a lunch time read. Forget into these short stories recommended by Susie Feay, Literary editor on Sunday. The Good Time by James Kelman (Secker and Warburg) "Gritty, hard-edged tales of Glasgow. The characters are rough, tough workers but Kellman particulates there feelings extremely well." The Granta book of American short stories: "A great way to getup to speed on the best stuff around".

40-60 minutes to time to get decent food in you. " Take your over a decent, nutritious lunch," says Palmer. "Wolfing down a burger isn't relaxing." Nutritionist, Amanda Ursell, offers some tips for a lunch that will carry you through the rest of the day:

A sandwich made with larger chunks of brown bread is great fuel as it provide plenty of Carbohydrate which will brake down into glucose to feed the brain and muscles through out the day. It also contain B-Vitamins which help beat stress. Chicken, Ham or fish make good fillings because they are rich in proteins and therefore very satisfying but beef may be the best option as it provide iron, which aids concentration. Fruit juice supply Vitamin C, and it will also liven you up by stimulating the taste buds. Don't be afraid to bring caffeine into play in time of great need. If you drink coffee regularly it wont help much, but if you're not a great coffee drinker then a cup of coffee, perhaps with a dash of sugar, will give you the boost you need.

When you've only got an hour to work-out…

Most of us made do with a skip up the stairs to the office daily workout. That's why when you do find the time a bit sweaty, a workout gives your body a little bit of everything is essential. Joan Bowskill, fitness trainer at The Harbor Club in London, recommends:

0-5 minutes clear out the cobwebs. Introduce your limbs to the idea of moving all at once with some stepping or walking.

5-10 minutes loosen up. Stretch every major muscle group, holding each one until you feel mild this comfort. Wait for the pain to ease, then stretch it one stage further make extra sure your muscle are totally prepared. Remember, if your calf seizes up on a treadmill your likely to be spat across the gym to the great amusement onlookers.

10-30 minutes run for it. If you only do one aerobic activity, make sure its running. Where as rowing machines or cycles partially support your body weight as you exercise, your entire body working against gravity while running an its there for the most physiologically demanding work you can do. A jog round the park is best, but treadmill will suffice-run until you are slightly out of breath but could still hold a conversation. As a general rule you should be working at 6 to 7 on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most difficult).

30-45 minutes bulge in the right place. Muscle work makes you look good but, says Bowskill, it also make the day-to-day strains of living - like opening jars, winning at arm wrestling and getting out of bed-much easier. For the quickest and the best results, do ten reps of the maximum weight you can manage then decrease the load by 10 percent at the point of the failure and continue to a second point of failure. Recent study in the US showed that a lifter using this technique gained 38 percent more muscle.

45-50 minutes get ripped. Working your abs will not only give you a stomach you could use as an instrument in a skiffle band, but also a stronger back. The most effective technique is to divide each crunch in three stages. As with all crunches, you should be elevating your shoulders 6 inches of the ground but, in this case, you should pause and hold the crunch for around 5 seconds at 2 inch intervals. This will not only put more strain in you abs, but assure that crunch is much slower and more controlled.

50-55 minutes get stabled. Try this simple exercise to improve your balance and body awareness-stand on one foot you knee slightly bent, changing your feet when you loose balance. If you find this too easy, try it again but with your eyes close. You should be aiming to stand for two-and-a-half minutes on each leg. Remember to steer clear of sharp objects.

55-60 minutes repeat the whole stretching process. This will prevent the embarrassment of walking around like the tin man the following day.