Ask the Swag Gal – September 21, 2011

Being a full-time mom is definitely a full-time job.  It can certainly be difficult to find time for yourself when the majority of your day is devoted to your children.  However, being a parent should not prohibit you from doing the things that you want or need, including staying in shape.  Here are some suggestions for toning up without depriving your kids of any of your attention.  All of these exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home or even while sitting at your desk at work.

  • Give yourself a minute to do as many jumping jacks as you can.  This is a great cardio exercise.  Kelli Calabrese, MS, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise says that “improving your heart rate variability – your heart’s ability to jump from resting to “pumped” — has been shown to increase longevity and decrease heart disease risk.”
  • Run in place for 60 seconds.  This is also a fun activity for you to do with the kids.  Make it a contest of who can run in place the longest.  It’s a great way to release a lot of energy in a small amount of time.
  • Pick a time when you’re sitting down – maybe when you’re on the couch watching TV.  Pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds.  Do this 3-5 times and you’ll definitely start to feel the burn.
  • Any spare second that you find yourself standing, do some one-legged squats.  Hold onto a wall or a table for support.
  • “Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.” (WebMD)
  • This one definitely gives me a burn.  If you want a way to work your chest and shoulders while not having to get out of your chair, put both of your hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop right before you hit the seat and hold for a few seconds. Repeat this 15 times.
  • For a nice stretching exercise, sit up straight and try to touch your shoulder blades together.  Hold it for a few seconds, and then relax.
  • Walking is always a great way to stay active.  Take the kids and venture out on a nature walk – they’ll love it and you’ll feel like you’ve done your workout for the day.
  • Calf exercises can definitely be effective.  While standing, hold on to a piece of furniture for balance.  Raise your heels off the floor and lower them slowly.  Repeat 10 times and rest.  Do 3 sets.
  • No dumbbells?  No problem!  Use two filled water bottles and do 3 sets each of front raises, overhead presses, and bicep curls.
  • Jumping rope is a great way to get your blood flowing, and you don’t even need a physical jump rope to do it.  Move your arms as if you were turning a rope and tap one foot in front of you.  Make sure you alternate your feet.

I hope you can find time in your busy schedule to fit in some of these exercises.  You don’t need a gym to stay in shape.  All you need is yourself and a little motivation!


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