Life & Beauty Weekly: Healthy You
By Jennifer O’Neill for Life & Beauty Weekly
If you’re like most moms, you carefully choreograph your days to get everything done. And that means plenty of multitasking. Exercise, however, probably isn’t included in your dance. After all, you can’t get to the gym or do an exercise video while, say, cooking dinner or reading email.
But what if you didn’t need the gym or even a chunk of time to reap the rewards of exercise? “Doing squats while you brush your teeth or standing pushups in the kitchen only takes two minutes, and it makes a difference to your health,” says Shirley Archer, author of Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week.
Specifically, strength training has been shown to reduce depression symptoms, diabetes risk and back pain, plus strengthen your bones. It also boosts metabolism. Women who strength-train burn more calories in the 24 hours afterward than they would if they hadn’t worked out, according to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
In every room of your home is an opportunity to exercise, says Archer. So tap into your multitasking skills and try her easy routine. You can do the moves throughout your day -- just try to do each move one to three times a day, three times per week.
Exercise: Single-leg Squats
Instead of just standing while working the toothbrush around your molars, work your hips, thighs, stomach and back too:
- Start in a standing position, then lift your left leg off the floor. Bend your right knee and lower your body into squat. (Sit back on your right heel so your knee doesn’t shoot past your toes.)
- While squatting, imagine a clock on the floor in front of you. Tap your left toe at the 12 o’clock position, then exhale as you rise up. (Keep your left leg lifted even after you come to a standing position.)
- Repeat, but this time tap your toe at the 11 o’clock position. Continue squatting and tapping each hour around the clock for a total of 12 squats.
- Switch legs, then repeat for another 12 squats.
Exercise: Counter Pushups
Next time you’re in the kitchen, strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest, stomach and back:
- Stand facing the counter, a foot or two back from its edge, with your feet hip-distance apart. Lean forward and place your hands on the edge slightly farther apart than shoulder-width.
- Keeping your torso stable and neck long, bend your arms and inhale as you lower your chest toward the counter. Exhale as you push your body back up. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Exercise: Traveling Lunges
Turn your room-to-room travels into a quick toning session for legs and hips: