Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Improv Exercise

So, many of you know I've been largely unable to run this summer (sob) due to a nagging -- VERY nagging, in fact -- running injury. [Side note: since turning 40 I have developed a totally atypical nagging running injury, apparent seasonal affective disorder, and mysterious (and even more atypical) high blood pressure. WTH, body?! This is what middle age is all about?? I don't approve.]


Pairing my running injury with certain solo-parenting demands this summer means I've been seriously challenged when it comes to getting out of my house to exercise. And while these particular circumstances may not apply to you, I'm willing to bet that, if you're a mom to young children, you probably have times when getting away by yourself for a solid cardio session is next to impossible. So how do you stay fit at times like these? Here are my best tips:

  • Put in a workout DVD. Whether strength-training, cardio circuits, yoga, or all three, a workout DVD allows you to exercise in your own home on those days and times when you're not allowed to leave. (Um, like the baby's naptime.) Plus, if your kids are beyond babyhood, they can even join in. So to speak.
  • Stand, don't sit. This may seem minor, but it's really not. Sitting still is really bad for you. New research has found that sitting still for multiple hours per day (not a typical at-home-mom day, I know, but applicable to many working moms, and consider those hours in front of the laptop while the kids are watching Dora or engrossed in a playdate, for example) SIGNIFICANTLY increases your risk of heart attack and death, even if you're a regular exerciser at other times. Gah! Get up!!! Standing also burns more calories than sitting, and those little things really add up. When you're doing the mom thing at home, try to consciously stand up when you can. It matters!
  • Walk, don't stand. Walking burns more calories than standing, and once again, those little calorie increases add up over time. At those moments when you'd normally stand in one place (while talking on the phone, maybe, or when you're lecturing your kids on putting away those damn Legos that keep attacking the tender bottoms of your feet when you enter the playroom), pace the floor. Why not?
  • Embrace housecleaning. Gah, ugh, blech, I know. I hate cleaning too (although I LOVE a clean house). But you can't deny its calorie-burning potential. Sure, it's not a five-mile run, but vacuuming, mopping, hauling laundry this way and that, and running up and down stairs putting toys and clothes away in far-flung bedrooms all count as physical activity. Get on that.
  • Push that stroller, mama! This one works for years, till your kids are at least three, in my book. If you're free to leave the house (both your children are up from naps, for example, and it's not raining), strap those kiddos in and get outside for a stroller walk (or run). You'll get a great cardio workout with kids in tow, with bonus arm and shoulder toning. And if you're pushing multiple children up hills in a double (or triple?!) stroller, your workout will move beyond "solid" into "superhuman" territory. Go, you!
I'm sure there are more great at-home-fitness strategies out there, and maybe you even have a few faves of your own, so let me know if I've missed something obvious. Sometimes you've just gotta do what works, even if it's not ideal or your usual m.o. Moms know that, and we're pros at it in every other area of our lives. (I know I'm not the only one who's changed a diaper on a jacket or used baby wipes as a makeshift shower, you all.)

OK, go to it. I will if you will.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

When my son was young, the stroller was my friend. He's blind, so we would hit the sidewalk with the stroller. I'd get exercise, and he'd get to experience the world around him.