Please join me in welcoming guest blogger, Kaitlin Gardner, from An Apple Per Day! She’s here with us today to share some quick tips and tricks for easy exercise routines for the busy, working mom. As a former half-marathon runner and avid yogi, the lack of exercise I get these days is a constant frustration. Admittedly, I’ve probably slacked off more than I needed to, and Kaitlin’s great tips have motivated me to make the most of what little time I may have to exercise and stay fit. I feel better emotionally and physically when I do, and a better me makes me a better mom!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “killing two birds with one stone.” Well, for me, one of those “birds” is exercise and that “stone” is time: With one block of time, in fact, as little as thirty minutes, you can incorporate exercise into your day on a regular basis. Think you don’t have time? Too many kids? Too much work? Read on for more ideas on how to incorporate exercise into your busy life, complete with kids, house, yard, animals, work and all!
It’s a rare moment when I don’t have a full “to do” list bearing down on me. But it doesn’t stop me from squeezing in some exercise; in fact, the busier I get, the more protective of my exercise time I become. Why? Because, as another popular saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” So I suppose that the best trick to finding time to exercise is really no trick at all: it’s a choice to protect a little time every day for exercise. Think of it as an important appointment that all other tasks must be scheduled around. Once you have chosen to make some amount of exercise part of every day, even 15 minutes of stretching, you are half-way there.
Back to Two Birds, One Stone
Once you’ve made the decision to exercise regularly, give yourself the best chance of success by finding clever ways to incorporate it into your regular (busy) routine. One of my favorite tricks for blending a busy life and exercise is by overlapping my exercise time with something enjoyable, which takes my mind off the to-do list. Occasionally, I steal away a few moments to really be present in my workout, but for me, at least while my kids are young, exercise is a means to an end. That said, here are a few of my favorite ways to get all the jobs done.
Embrace Modern Technology – Indoors and Out!
First, I set my DVR to record automatically the two or three shows each week that I absolutely don’t want to miss. When I’m ready to hit the treadmill or do some yoga and stretching, I turn on the TV in our game room and not only do I exercise while watching my favorite program, but the time flies! In fact, I’ve noticed that I exercise longer, on average, when I’m doing it while watching the TV!
For outdoor activity, don’t forget the smartphone. In addition to letting the music serve as your distraction while you log the laps, try tuning into a local talk show, TED talk, or podcast (downloadable to your phone for listening at your convenience). When I’m distracted by listening to an engaging conversation or my favorite music, I’m motivated to run or walk for far longer than I would have without them. Need dinner ideas? Find a cooking podcast and find out what’s for dinner while you garden!
If you have a backyard pool, and children, chances are you spend a considerable amount of time supervising. Aqua aerobics is a great way to build muscle tone and burn calories while the kids are having their fun splashing around you. Water’s natural resistance will give simple leg lifts and arm circles in chest deep water a whole new meaning!
Outside Watering the Flowers? Don’t Just Stand There!
For the Calves
Keep a cinder block or brick in the area where you normally stand, or near where you are watering. Stand on the block and the balls of your feet and lower your heels to the ground, then back up. If balance is an issue, place the brick near a post or fence; just one or two fingers on a stationary object is plenty to keep you balanced. Doing three sets of 12 of these, three days a week will do wonders for your calves!
Squats and Lunges for the Upper Legs
For a great upper legs and butt workout while the planters are filling, do three sets of ten squats or lunges. Walk a line of lunges around your garden or yard, or stay in place.
For When You Have a Little More Time…
If you have a little more time on your hands to truly get into the exercise moment, so to speak, but joining a gym is out of the question, don’t worry; with most cable packages today, there are exercise channels that feature 24-hour yoga, Zumba, or aerobics workouts that you can watch in the privacy of your own home, and without the travel time. Just set the DVR and then tune in when it’s convenient for you.
Remember, getting into shape starts in your mind: Make a decision to do it and then use the resources that are at your finger (and toe) tips! No need for a special wardrobe, monthly dues or traveling across town.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.