Tips for Busy Moms: 10 Quick Exercises You Can Do Anywhere With Your Kids
By Jayne Jang Belz
The moment you become a mom, you realize how much busier—and more wonderful, of course—life gets. All of a sudden, there is a tiny human who feeds around the clock, a baby who won't sleep, constant cleaning up and laundry—so much laundry!
Moms are busy!
Instead of wondering how you will possibly fit one more thing into your busy day and then getting discouraged, do what many moms are gifted in: multitasking. And remember that the arrival of that baby also came with some serious superpowers.
Watch how Jennifer Gelman, the mom behind BWMC Fitness, weaves fitness into an everyday task of motherhood:
Gelman thought it would be easy to stay active when she became a mom. After all, she had been so active before having children—swimming, biking and running marathons. But like most moms, she was surprised to find how hard it actually was—especially when her fourth son came along.
When gym childcare just wasn't working and her husband's job took the family overseas where they didn't have childcare at the gym, Gelman had to get creative.
Check this out:
With a professional fitness certification from the American Council on Exercise in hand and all her prior fitness experience, Gelman developed workouts parents could do literally anywhere while including the kids.
"I'm passionate about showing parents that it is possible to exercise if you get creative with your time and if you have a plan," Gelman said. She is active on social media because she wants to get the message out: "There are ways to make fitness happen in a busy family."
Gelman is a firm believer in "snack-size exercise," which means you squeeze it in at any time.
"Five minutes is better than nothing and later in the day, or tomorrow, get another five," she said. "You have to do what works for you if you don't have a continuous 30 minutes."
Gelman noted that on extremely busy days, those short bursts of exercise throughout the day do give her more energy, endurance and stamina.
Gelman isn't the only one viewing healthy living and fitness as an everyday part of life—not just something that has to happen at the gym or while you're alone.
Carrie Underwood's personal trainer, Erin Oprea, was bullied online for jumping rope and getting in some cardio while watching her son's soccer game.
These moms may seem like an inspirational ideal for most, but as Gelman said, start wherever you're comfortable and keep building. Pick one exercise, squeeze it into your day, and see where you end up in a year. Just keep at it.
So are you ready to get that heart rate up and see some more definition—without having to find an hour or two to go to the gym?
Here are 10 quick exercises you can do at the playground (or anywhere, really!):
Tip: Do each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, time permitting, to create an entire circuit workout, and repeat the circuit as often as you'd like.
1. Play Tag: Kids love to be chased.
2. Squats: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out in front. Start to lower your body back as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees and pushing your body weight into your heels. Keep a neutral spine at all times and never let your knees go over your toes. The lower body should be parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted at all times not rounded. Pause then lift back up in a controlled movement to the starting position.
3. Alternating Lunges With Squats in the Center: Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don't keep looking down). Always engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn't touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. Squat in the middle and then lunge on the other side.
4. Step-Ups: To start, place your entire right foot onto a bench or stable chair. Press through your right heel as you step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your right so you are standing on the bench. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot, then the left, so both feet are on the floor. Repeat on the other side.
5. Tricep Dips: Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
6. Push-ups: Plant your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart). Keep your body in a straight line. Lower you body to the ground, so your chest touches. Lift back up.
7. Planks: Plant your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart) like you're about to do a push-up. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working in the move too, but be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
8. Inchworms: Stand with your feet close together. Keeping your legs straight, stretch down and put your hands on the floor directly in front of you. This will be your starting position. Begin by walking your hands forward slowly, alternating your left and your right. As you do so, bend only at the hip, keeping your legs straight. Keep going until your body is parallel to the ground in a pushup position. Now, keep your hands in place and slowly take short steps with your feet, moving only a few inches at a time. Continue walking until your feet are by hour hands, keeping your legs straight as you do so.
9. Burpees: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels, and your arms at your sides. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat. Place your hands on the floor directly in front of, and just inside, your feet. Shift your weight onto them. Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up, as both can keep you from effectively working your core. Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands. Reach your arms overhead and explosively jump up into the air. Land and immediately lower back into a squat for your next rep.
10. Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.