Dara Duff-Bergeron: Sweaty Mummy


Take an Exercise Break

Your 20-Minute Workout

Hey! You there. How long have you been sitting at that computer? And how many hours have you spent this week running from bed to drop-off to work to pick-up to dinner to housework to computer to bed? Whatever happened to taking time for yourself?

It’s probably true for most mummies that the days of 2-hour gym sessions are behind us. It’s hard enough to squeeze in that old Tae-Bo video your gorgeous cousin gave you now that her kids are off to university and she is not enslaved busy sustaining several human beings.

What if you decided to view exercise for its immediate effects instead of what it can do in the 6-8 week range or by the time bathing suit season rolls around? The truth is that exercise can provide a much-needed break in the day for brain and body, as well as satisfying that instant-gratification craving for results. As in now. As in I want to exercise and feel better right now.

Well, you can!

Here is a 20-minute workout designed to awaken brain and body, with 5 carefully-chosen exercises to address common concerns rising from the mummy’s daily grind. Each exercise is designed to be done for 1 minute at whatever pace you desire—slower with fewer reps will provide that calm, zen break and faster with more reps (my personal favourite) will clear your mind and leave you with a bit of post-exercise euphoria. Who doesn’t need a little euphoria?  Perform once through for a quick bit of relief and 3 times through for a full, 20-minute workout and reap great core training & posture benefits, immediately and with each workout!

 Birth Squat (opens hips, strengthens core & legs, improves flexibility & blood flow)

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes turned out. Raise arms in front of you as you squat, keeping heels down and lowering bum below knees, as close to floor as possible. (Note: if you suffer from knee pain, stop when thighs are parallel with ground instead; if no knee injury is present, this squat is perfectly safe.) Keep chest lifted and eyes raised. Hold for 1 count, then press hard into your heels and push knees out as you stand up. Repeat at desired pace for 1 minute.


 Hover to Downward Dog (strengthens core, stretches legs to prevent/ease back pain)

Begin on hands & knees in “box” position. To increase difficulty, back knees up a few inches so they are slightly behind hips. Lift knees off floor 1-2 inches and keep shoulders aligned over wrists. Exhale as you lower to tap knees on floor gently 10 times, then press back into downward dog and aim to lower heels to floor. Hold downward dog for 10 counts. Repeat at desired pace for 1 minute.


 Single Leg Deadlift (strengthens & stretches legs & back, improves balance & focus)

Begin standing with feet together and raise right leg a few inches off floor. Tip forward slowly and bend supporting left leg slightly as you reach toward floor. Tap floor with fingers and press up through left heel, squeezing your bum as you come back to standing with proper posture. To increase difficulty, place an item on the floor (dumbbell, book, etc.) to pick up & place down with each rep. Repeat at desired pace for 1 minute on each leg.


 Prone TYI (corrects posture & strengthens back & shoulders, plus it’s nice to lie down...)

Lie on tummy with feet together and squeeze your bum slightly as you perform 15 reps of each of the following. First, arms extended out to sides in a “T” shape with your torso; raise head and arms off floor and pulse upward, squeezing shoulderblades together, 15 times. Repeat with arms extended slightly forward but wide, in a “Y” shape with your torso. Finally, repeat with arms extended straight forward and thumbs up, palms facing in. Repeat sequence at desired pace for 1 minute total.


 Windmill (improves flexibility in core and spine, improves blood flow & posture)

Begin standing with feet wide and arms extended out to sides. Exhale and scoop belly up as you bend and lower left arm to outside of right leg. Brace left arm on right leg and apply pressure slightly to help you twist your spine and open chest and right arm up to right side. Hold for 3 counts, then rise slowly to starting position. Alternate sides and repeat for 1 minute.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get moving!