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With or without your kids: 9 Workouts that work for every mom

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

The best workouts for busy moms

Stay fit, healthy and happy with these expert tips on managing motherhood and exercise.

Running or jogging

One of the easiest exercises for moms to do is to slip out for a run or jog. According to Thom, the only "must-have" piece of equipment is flexibility. "Accept that there is no one way to make it work. Some days I get up early and go running while the house is sleeping; sometimes I run with my toddler in the stroller while my older girls set the pace on bikes. When I take my car in for an oil change, I run home. I have also run to the school and back when I go to volunteer."

Helpful hint: Thom adds that treating yourself to a cute running dress or skirt can make these running errands much more fun.

Read up on the 8 common running myths, busted! >>


Incline walk

If you're not up for a run, a slow walk up an incline can help you tone your legs and backside plus give you a good cardio burn. Koscielski adds, "It will help burn off stubborn baby fat by keeping your heart rate in a lower zone (zones 1-3)."

Helpful hint: Colicky babies often settle quickly when taken for a walk in a close-body carrier or baby wrap.


TRX training

Kendra Ruff, owner of Iron Fit and Lifetime Fitness personal trainer, specializes in women's fitness. "My favorite workout to recommend to moms is anything on the TRX," she says. "Because every move you do with it incorporates balance and core work — two skills vital for rehabbing the core after pregnancy." The TRX is a simple system made from two straps with handles that can be attached to any stationary object. You then use your body weight as resistance while you do moves like a rotational lunge, one of Ruff's favorites.


Get in there with them

Kids are naturally active so don't get stuck on the sidelines checking your email on your phone; sign up to coach the soccer team, get in the pool during swim lessons, jump rope, hula hoop, play baseball, shoot hoops and ride bikes. Thom shares, "When I became a mom my biggest challenge was the same as most moms: Finding the time. But if you're willing to include your children in the workouts, this excuse is diminished significantly."

Helpful hint: Don't worry about embarrassing yourself or looking dumb in front of the other adults. Kids are remarkably forgiving and chances are some other parents will jump in too when they see you go for it.


One word: Childcare

Sometimes you just need a break from your kids, and exercise is the perfect opportunity to blow off some steam! As a mom of four, my No. 1 priority when searching for a gym is the quality of their childcare center. Many gyms and community centers now offer childcare or child classes as part of your membership or for a small fee. If the kids are happy, then I'm happy!

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