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At-Home Exercise Routine for Busy Moms

 

by María Simón

3 Quick Exercises You Can Do at Home

Wake up and shower, get the kids dressed, make breakfast, pack lunches, find the missing shoe, make two perfectly even ponytails, drive the munchkins to school, pick up the dry cleaning, grocery shopping…all before 9 a.m.!

A busy mom’s schedule can be overwhelming and can also be why so many women are struggling with their weight. There are still a million things to do, and before you know it, it’s 2- p.m. and time  for the children to come back home.

Exactly where are we supposed to fit in exercise? Just the thought of changing into workout clothes, driving to the gym, finding a machine that doesn’t look like a medieval torture device and hoping it’s available, is enough to make anyone decide, “being fat isn’t so bad.”

The truth is, the stress of a busy mom’s schedule combined with those few extra pounds, can lead to serious health risks. On the days that going to gym is more stressful than beneficial, you can actually get a good workout at home, and you don’t even need to comb your hair!  Here are three resistance exercises and a complete routine that will work out multiple body parts with practically no equipment and require very little space.

Squats

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that squats are one of the best exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles. The great thing about squats is that they also strengthen the quadriceps and glutes, two huge muscle groups.

But what about your bad knees, you say? When done properly, squats will actually alleviate pressure from the knees by strengthening the surrounding muscles without any unnecessary impact on the joint. Here’s how to perform a proper squat:

  • Place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bring your arms forward, hinge at the waist and sit back as if reaching for a chair that someone is pulling away. Be sure that your knees do not move forward but stay behind your toes while you go as deep as possible until the top of your legs are parallel to the floor.
  • Return to the standing position by pushing on your heels and lifting your chest.

Push-ups

Push-ups are another multipurpose exercise that strengthen your arms, chest, back, abs and glutes all at once. Try and go for a regular push-up. Here’s how:

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Place your hands wider than your shoulders and your knees should be behind your hips.
  • Curl in your toes and lift your knees off the floor, straightening your body. This is your starting position.
  • Next, bend your elbows and lower your chest and hips simultaneously until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Finally, push on your hands to lift your chest and hips back into the starting position.

To modify this exercise, simply leave the knees on the floor for your starting position, but remember they should be behind the hips. Make sure to keep the chest and hips aligned as you lower in order to strengthen the entire core.

I recommend starting with as many regular push-ups as you can do in good form and finishing your set with modified push-ups. Each week, try to increase the number of regular push-ups you do and decrease the number of modified ones until you can complete the entire set of “real” push-ups.

Tricep Dips

As the name implies, this exercise focuses on the triceps, an area of concern for many women. The triceps are a small muscle of the upper arm, opposite the biceps. Tricep Dips also engage the core and can affect the lower body with simple variations. To perform tricep dips:

  • First, sit on the floor and place your hands on the floor behind your hips and directly below your shoulders.
  • Bend your knees, place your feet under the knees and lift your hips off the floor; this is your starting position.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body, just before the hips touch the floor.
  • Extend your arms and push on your heels to return to the starting position.

To add emphasis to the core, grab a chair (preferably armless), place your hands at the front edge of the chair and repeat the same process, this time engaging the core by pulling your belly button in and up and squeezing your glutes.

For a more advanced option, raise one leg in the air and lower your body as described previously.

Complete Workout: Warm-up, Squats, Push-Ups, Triceps

You can work these three exercises into a simple 30- to 45-minute routine. First, warm up your muscles with approximately 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging in place followed by leg swings and arm circles.

Perform three sets of varying reps and durations:

Set 1:

  1. First, do 10 slow, deep squats
  2. Jog in place for 2 minutes
  3. Do 10 push-ups
  4. Jog in place for 2 minutes
  5. Do 10 tricep dips
  6. Rest for 1 minute

Set 2:

  1. Do 15 squats
  2. Jog in place for 90 seconds
  3. Do 15 push-ups
  4. Jog in place for 90 seconds
  5. Do 15 tricep dips
  6. Rest for 1 minute

Set 3:

  1. Do 20 squats
  2. Jog in place for 1 minute
  3. Do 20 push-ups
  4. Jog in place for 1 minute
  5. Do 20 tricep dips.

Finish by performing long, static stretches for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Great workout and your outfit didn’t even have to match!

Learn more heart-healthy exercises and ways to live healthy on Go Red.