Sneaky Fitness

Ways to Sneak Fitness Into Your Life

Remember the days when you could spend two hours in the gym?  You could primp before even hitting the gym floor in case that guy with the Johnny Depp hair was working out tonight?  You could leisurely read a magazine while you warmed up on the bike?  You could take your time on the weights, strolling over to the water fountain for a sip or two in between sets and chatting with the other regulars?  You could stretch for 15 minutes, accompanied by a smooth mix of ballads from your iPod?  You could shower, change, iron your clothes, blow out your hair, apply your make up and stop at Starbucks on the way out for a latte?

Well, that’s over.

Now you’re probably lucky if you get 20 minutes to bolt out the door for a jog.  So what’s a mummy to do when she wants to stay on top of all those jiggly bits?

Sneak it in!

There are advantages to doing a workout from start to finish, with warm up, cardio, strength training, stretching and cool down.  But it’s just not always possible.  And some exercise is infinitely better than no exercise at all.  So don’t let the old “I don’t have time” excuse keep you from toning up and slimming down. 

Here are a few great ideas for toning and strengthening those mummy trouble spots all while doing your usual day-to-day activities.

The Activity: Scrubbing Dishes
The Target: Glutes (your butt)

While standing at the sink (this one also works for ironing or any other stationary activity), balance on left foot and extend right leg out behind you on a diagonal plane, slightly out to the side.  Keep right leg straight and squeeze right glute, aiming with heel, and extend as far back as possible, then return to tap right leg against left leg.  Repeat 20-30 times on each side, for a total of 2-3 sets.

The Activity: Washing Your Hair
The Target: Triceps (your upper arms)

Grab the full shampoo bottle in left arm and raise overhead.  Use right arm to hold left upper arm pointing straight up.  Bend left elbow and allow shampoo bottle to drop behind your head, then squeeze left triceps and straighten arm, raising bottle until left elbow is completely straight.  Repeat 10-20 times on each side, for a total of 2-3 sets.  Got 2 similar bottles?  Raise both arms at the same time and complete left and right simultaneously.

The Activity: Sweeping or Vacuuming
The Target: Quads (your thighs)

While sweeping or vacuuming, pause to assume an athletic position, feet hip-width apart and abs contracted.  Hold broom or vacuum handle out in front of you while you squat, until thighs are parallel with the floor.  Ensure your butt is sticking out behind you and your eyes and chest are both up.  Hold for 30-60 counts.  Resume cleaning!  Repeat 2-3 times.

The Activity: Playing with the Kids
The Target: Abs (your tummy)

While you’re down on the floor with the little ones, assume a “box” position, on hands and knees with hands just below shoulders and knees slightly behind hips.  Turn toes under so you can lift knees 1-2 inches off floor.  Keep abdominal muscles contracted by squeezing your tummy up as high as possible.  Hold for 20-30 counts.  Rest, then lift knees 1-2 inches off floor again, then lower to tap knees lightly 20-30 times on floor.  Resume playing!  Repeat 2-3 times.

Dara Duff-Bergeron began her career in fitness before she could legally drink.  With over a decade under her belt, she has trained and coached hundreds of people and worked as a physical education specialist, fitness manager, fitness tester, consultant and writer.  Dara now brings her exceptional experience and down-to-earth philosophy to Belly Bootcamp fitness for modern mommies.

Dara is living, breathing proof that you can have a family, a career and an active lifestyle.  When she’s not training clients or writing, Dara can be found doing push ups with her son and daughter, and generally avoiding housework.

Read Dara's blog for a humourous perspective on fitness, body image and exercise in the world of motherhood.

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