Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finding Time for Fitness: It’s All About Multi-tasking

Helllooooo, Melbourne!!! (and everybody else too…that was just fun to write).  I want to thank Nicole for inviting me Down Under to share with you my love of fitness.  My name is Abbie, and I blog over at Five days…5 ways where every Monday (I call it “Move-it Monday”), I employ some of my fitness instructor know-how to help motivate others (and myself) to commit to a healthy start to each week.  But even though I looooooove teaching group finess, I definitely still have those days when the last thing in the world I want to do is a) go anywhere near a gym or b) motivate others to do the same.
 This is me, right after our Body Pump 4th-of-July-themed launch earlier this month

I can relate to the the mamas and busy professionals who say things like, “I would love to be fitter, but I just don’t have time.”  I have three children, the youngest of whom is a learning-to-crawl baby, and the oldest of whom is just now school-age, which means home-schooling for me. I have a house to clean, dinner to get ready, a husband to smile at (obviously the most time-consuming thing on this list), projects to finish, a blog to write, and a life to live. Oh yeah, and fitness classes to teach. 

But even though I may not always be motivated, I know it’s important that I make time for some kind of regular exercise, if for no other reason than that I want to be able to outrun these little guys—

and this sweetness—

for another good long while.

So, how do you get fitter, without losing your sanity, your family, or your Kindle time?

In a word: multitasking.

Here are some suggestions of what that might look like:

While you’re playing with your kids…

    • run suicides—if you aren’t familiar with these, it’s probably because you blocked them out of your mind from a traumatic junior high gym class experience. But you don’t have to literally want to kill yourself when you’re done to get something beneficial out of this exercise.  If you’ve got little (or even big) tykes, set up a mark 20-30 feet away (you can use anything—a football, a cone, an Ironman action figure…can you tell I have boys?), and then challenge your kids to a race.  Sprint (or jog…whatever is difficult for you) toward the mark and then back to your starting point three times, then, once your kids catch up (assuming they didn’t outrun you! : )), challenge them to a “walk-off” to see who can do the same distance walking the fastest. Wash, rinse, repeat. The benefit: interval training (alternating high/low activities to vary your heart-rate), which is the most effective form of calorie/fat burning. Try to make your playtime last for at least 15 minutes.
    • give horsey rides: having a wiggly sack of potatoes on your back will add extra resistance and the crawling motion will force you to use most muscles in your body, including those all-important ab muscles everyone is so eager to tighten.  The benefit: elevated heart rate for fat-burning and resistance for muscle tone. Try for 3-4 rounds of horsey rides that last 5 minutes each throughout your day.
While you’re watching tv…

    • Alternate between push-ups, dips, and squats. Grab a chair for the tricep dips, and then knock out sets of 5 each, moving from dips (see video tutorial here)  to squats (check out this body-weight squat tutorial) to push-ups (you can read my push-up tutorial for the standard variety), circuit-style (which just means that you repeat the same sequence of exercises once you’ve completed one round). The benefit: elevated heart-rate for fat-burning and multiple reps for conditioning/muscle tone. Try to do 3 circuits (dips, squats, push-ups = 1 circuit) with a 2 minute break in between for the length of a 30 minute TV show.   
    •  Do yoga/pilates: you can Google any number of simple poses/stretches (lots of tutorials on youtube) and then use your tv/movie-watching time to get acquainted with your inner yogi. The benefits: stress reduction (especially if you practice taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth), increased flexibility—which decreases your chances of injury and improves the appearance of your muscles—and increased muscle tone.  Try to learn a simple vinyasa flow sequence (Google this phrase) and complete it as many times as possible with a 1 minute break between each sequence during the length of a 30 minute TV show.
While you’re Kindling it up…

    • Find a step/stair of some kind (even a very low stool will work if you’re careful) and do calf-raises while you read.  You’ll be toning your legs while you distract your mind, and the smooth movement won’t distract your eyes from the words on the page, electronic or paper. The benefit: toned calf muscles, stronger lower body.  Try to do at least 10 sets of 10 at varying speeds (singles= up 1, down 1, pulses=same idea, but faster, 2-2’s=up for 2 counts, and down for 2 counts, 3-1’s= up for 3, down for 1, etc.).  If your calves haven’t burst into flame yet, try a simple up-up, down-down step sequence to work out the burn and get the heart-rate up a little.
    • It may seem too obvious to mention, but Kindles or large-print books are also ideal companions for that treadmill or elliptical you’ve been using as hat-rack in your garage for the last two years.
While you’re being the maid…

    • Turn up the tunes, and scrub with a sense of purpose. Sweeping and mopping floors is very few folks’ idea of a good time, but if you dial up the volume on your radio or mp3 player, you’re much more likely to get after that dried-on cereal on the tile floor.  Music with a driving beat (even if it’s just a bee-boppy number from the Go Fish Guys that your three-year-old will love too) has been proven to make you work harder and get your heart-rate higher.  The benefit: besides making chores more fun?—an elevated heart-rate for fat-burning. Try to scrub, sweep, bend down for, polish, and dust with twice your normal speed and vigor for about an hour. You’ll have seared off at least 200 cals.
    • Run the stairs between laundry loads.  Keep your music blasting and sprint/jog/power-walk your stairs (if you have them) or take a lap around your living room (if you don’t) after you sort your laundry, then after you load it, then after you put the soap in, then…well, you get the idea. The benefit: increased heart-rate for fat-burning, with the added benefit of interval training.
These simple tips may not get you ready for the 2012 Olympics, but if you manage to consistently implement even two of them during your daily routine, you’re likely to notice a change in not only your body and your energy, but also your attitude about exercising.

Here’s to moving it!

Oh, and come on back tomorrow for Try-it Tuesday (it involves the words “closet” and “makeover”). If all goes as planned, it’s going to big!

Wow!.  Great Post Abbie!!!
Now lets all go show Abbie some love shall we?
Click HERE to see her fabulous blog :)


Hello I'm Lala! said...

Great advice!! Trying to keep up with the kids is definitely a workout ;-)

Thanks for stopping by

Delaney said...

What great tips!

Samantha said...

New blog follower from LMM!

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