Exercise for the Busy Mommy

What mommy with a busy household full of little ones and perhaps homeschooling as well has time to exercise? Even if she has time, when could she get off by herself and go to the gym? Maybe she could take an early morning run before her husband leaves for work, but with safety concerns these days, that isn’t advisable either. Are there any exercise solutions available?

We think there are viable exercise options that can be done at home without any specialized equipment in a minimal amount of time and space! I had two e-mails this week asking questions about how my girls and I exercise so I expect there are others who are interested in this information. In the past few years, we have been learning about the benefits of intense exercise that is done for short periods of time. This has meant that we can have a good workout in 20 to 30 minutes a day or even every other day.

Most of us know that exercise is important for a healthy body, and we want to make exercise part of our daily schedule. Even Scripture tells us that there is some value in exercise although the most important part of our lives is godliness. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Steve and I are able to walk together for exercise. If you have older children who are mature enough to watch younger children, walking is an ideal exercise for a husband and wife. Not only are you getting exercise time in, but you are also able to have uninterrupted communication. Our morning walks are a highlight for both Steve and me each day, and we know it is part of what has kept our bodies healthy and our relationship close. We also do about 15 minutes of the exercising we are describing in this Mom’s Corner every other day. Our girls also do this kind of exercise most days, and their exercise routine is what I want to share with you. When Steve is sick or has an injury, I exercise with the girls so I have had some experience participating in their routines.

Here is an overview of what is possible without much time, without any equipment, and without having to leave home. It can even be done with children participating, or if they are little, with them playing nearby.

Our girls usually do 20 to 30 minute workouts in the mornings right after personal Bible time before starting their days. This is the most stable time of day for us. We have some equipment like free weights in our basement where we workout, but the girls don’t always use them in their exercising. When we are on the road, the girls’ workout uses body weight. The exercises in the demonstration in the link following require no equipment.

The girls plan exercise routines that vary every day. Here is a link to some exercises like the girls would use.

They pick 6 to 8 exercises and write them down so they know the order they are going to use. When they started exercising like this, they did the first exercise for 30 seconds and then rested for 15 or 20 seconds. Then they did the second exercise for 30 seconds and then rested for 15 or 20 seconds. When they finished all the exercises, they would start over doing two rounds and working up to three rounds or whatever fit into their time frame.

As they got stronger and built more endurance, they did the exercises for 45 seconds each. Then they advanced to a full minute for the exercises with only a 10 to 15 second break between exercises. You can learn exercises by watching the video. Having proper technique is necessary to avoid injury. Then pick six or eight of the exercises for your first exercise routine and write them down. Take another six or eight and make a second list for the next day’s routine. If you did that and saved each routine on your computer, you could reuse them and not have to make up so many new ones. As you get the hang of exercising this way, you could hunt for more exercises on the Internet to add to your list of available exercises.

We pace ourselves as we exercise. If we need to rest in the middle of an exercise, we rest. Sometimes when I am exercising, I can’t make the full 30 seconds. I will take a little break and then start again to finish the interval. As you get stronger and in better shape, you can scale the exercising up to whatever you are able to do by increasing the time of the intervals or performing the exercise faster.

Do you have a smart phone? If so, there are apps that you can get for timing your intervals and even listing the exercises. The one Steve and I use is called UltraTrainer. It is a little harder to program than Anna’s timer. Anna has one called Seconds (the free version). In Seconds’ free version, you can’t save your timers, but if you purchase it, you can. Anna uses Round Timer and quickly enters her number of rounds, plus interval and break duration. You can set up intervals for exercise, for rest, and for how many exercises you want to do. The program does the timing for you, giving you auditory clues for starting each exercise, ending it, and resting. If you set your phone in the right place, you can watch the seconds count down to the beep. Sometimes when you are really tired, it helps to look at the timer and discover you only have five seconds left.

When programming the timing app, if you want to go all out, you can name each exercise within the routine. The girls don’t do that because they put so much variety into their routines, and they are different every day. They write out their routine and simply use the timer for their intervals. Steve and I tend to get a routine going and do it for quite a while before changing it up so we enter the names of the exercises. In reality because we do the same routine so frequently, we soon memorize it.

Busy mommies need to take care of their bodies. They have to have strength and energy to keep up with their young crew, to stay healthy, and to accomplish all that the Lord has given them to do. I encourage you to try this way of exercising and see if it will allow you to do what you didn’t think you could do–exercise!