Experts recommend 30 minutes of daily physical activity, but that doesn't mean skipping a workout because you only have 10 minutes to spare. Rather than pressure yourself to complete a 30-minute workout, exercise in shorter bursts several times per day. Doing short (10- to 15-minute) high-intensity exercise sessions will build muscle and burn calories. If you have only a couple of minutes, run up and down the stairs a few times or do some jumping jacks.
Your kids can become convenient reasons not to exercise. It's easy to get so caught up in preparing meals, cleaning up after them and acting as a free taxi service that you forget you can involve your children in your exercise plans. For example, take them for a bike ride or when you walk the dog to the park. You might not always be able to reach the intensity level you seek when the kids are along, but it's no reason to skip activity altogether. This is another way that you can consistently find time to fit in a workout and will also help keep your children in good shape.
Having a toddler at home and kids in school means even less free time, but you can easily strap your baby into a jogging stroller or snuggle your infant in a baby sling. The extra weight can help you burn more calories, and you're accomplishing two important tasks: mothering and exercising!
Fitness DVDs, particularly ones with clearly defined workout segments that you can pick and choose to suit the amount of time you have, are a great way for you and your kids to stay fit. Even if the kids can't do all of the exercises, attempting push-ups and sit-ups will keep them occupied. Unless you want to invest in a fitness DVD collection, you can save money by borrowing them from the library.
Finally, if you're a busy working mom, you don't need to limit your workouts to your home. If you drive to work, park your car farther from work and briskly walk the rest of the way. Use the stairs a few times a day (carrying heavy objects up the stairs is even better). If you have a little privacy, incorporate desk-side exercises into your day. Try leg lifts, ab crunches, desk push-ups or yoga poses. Not only will you boost your fitness, you'll boost your mood.
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