Thursday 21 August 2014

In a Naptime — Squeezing In a Workout While the Kids Are Asleep

Being a mum is the most rewarding job in the world. Your days are filled with love, fun . . . and heavy lifting!

As your baby moves through infancy, quite literally crawling toward toddler-hood, an undeniable fact will emerge—he just keeps getting heavier! This is a great reminder that healthy babies require strong mums—and it doesn’t have to take a pricey gym membership or daily private training sessions to keep you in great condition! 

A quick trip to the local supermarket or sporting goods store can give you all you need for at-home fitness during those stolen moments when the kids are with dad or the baby’s asleep. In under 20 minutes, you can invoke the essential aspects of any workout with three low-cost items—a jump rope, dumbbells, and a yoga mat— and this can be at home or at the health club!  

Experts agree that the most beneficial exercise routines combine cardio and strength-training. Lifting manageable weights (small dumbbells weighing two to five pounds) will develop and strengthen the arm muscles that mums use so much, while cardio (jumping rope can be done in place) burns off the calories that lead to excess weight and, in extreme cases, an unhealthy heart.

In fact, jumping the rope for just 10 minutes can burn 135 calories. But first, be sure your stance is correct. The rope should be held low, with your arms held down by your sides; the movement should come from your wrists and forearms, and the bounce in your step should be from the balls of your feet. Work up to the recommended 10 minutes; though a short span of time, it’s easier said than done for most beginners! 

Next, grab your two weights and hold them in the palms of your hands. If you’ve using your skipping rope correctly, you shouldn’t feel too much soreness in your upper arms and should be able to complete a few sets of bicep or triceps lifts (well, if time allows, as always!). Holding your hands palms-up and raising the weights toward your face will work your biceps. Twisting your palms to face each other and pushing back (straightening your arms from your hips) will attack the triceps at the back of your arms, where the dreaded batwing can emerge! Both bicep and triceps curls should be completed slowly and controlled, with about three sets of 12 to 15 reps, and arms should be held close to your sides. 

Look to your third step—stretching—as treat after your cardio and strengthening. The simple stretches you did as a kid — leaning over and touching your toes, touching an elbow to the opposite knee and twisting your torso around — are still totally valuable!  

Close out your first few workouts with shavasana, a classic yoga pose also called ‘corpse pose’. To get into position, lay flat on your back on your new yoga mat, close your eyes . . . and relax. Observe this routine and watch how you start to shape up despite the busy schedule.

Image by andrewmalone and keithallison, used under Creative Commons licence.

Arianne Harper is a mum of three and full-time personal assistant who still finds time to fit plenty of exercise into her daily routine. She particularly enjoys dumbbell exercises.  

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