1-Minute Toning Tips for Back-to-School Season

ok, now squat!

The lazy days of summer are gone and it’s time for packing lunches, driving to gymnastics & supervising homework! When are you ever supposed to find the time to work out? The truth is, you can sneak exercise into your day in tiny bits AND have it still be effective.  Here are some of my top tips for staying toned when you’re a slave to the schedule. Try this while… …doing housework:

  • while washing dishes, chopping veggies,etc., contract your abdominal muscles and try to keep them compressed while you take 10 breaths. Imagine squeezing your abs in as if you are wearing tight pants & trying to avoid the “muffin top”!  Repeat 10 times or until fatigued.
  • got stairs? Learn to be a little less efficient and make as many trips up the stairs as possible to put things away. Or tack an extra 2 trips up the stairs for every trip you must make!  Want an extra challenge?  Hold onto the hand railing and go up your stairs backwards.
  • vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and the like can be a bit tough on the back (not to mention the arms, if you mop as infrequently as I do!).  Every couple of minutes, give your posture a reboot and put down the mop to do 30 seconds of jumping jacks (no watch? That’s about 30-40 jumping jacks).  Try to complete 3-10 sets of jumping jacks while doing your floors. This works easily with any monotonous chore!

…at the park with the kids or out running errands:

  • if you’re still in that stroller/infant carrier stage, pause your walk briefly to throw in a set of walking lunges.  Begin with feet together and step left leg forward, then lower into a lunge position until left thigh is roughly parallel with the ground (try to keep left shin perpendicular to the ground, i.e., don’t push your knee past your toes). Step forward and continue to lunge with right leg, moving forward each time.  Aim for 10-20 lunges, followed by some walking.  Try to squeeze 3-5 sets into your walk.
  • at the park, show your little ones how to use the monkey bars.  Traveling across the monkey bars is great for the back, shoulders and arms, and you’ll be the coolest mom in the playground!  Bonus points for lifting your little one up so she can reach the monkey bars herself.  Next, head to the back of a bench and face the playground so you can keep your eyes on the kids.  Place your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider and stand back, on your toes, in push up position.  Complete 8-15 push ups on the bench.  Try 2-3 sets of the monkey bars and push ups, back-to-back, for a killer upper body combination.

  • this is an easy one… take the stairs!  Forgo all elevators, escalators and ramps when you can and learn to use the stairs.  Try taking the stairs two-at-a-time and pressing up through your front heel to really engage the muscles of the legs and butt.
  • walk your errands.  While hardcore workouts like our Belly Bootcamp classes are an important part of optimizing your weight and metabolism, everyday activity like walking, housework, gardening and the like are now known to be key to a long, healthy and fit life.  When the weather is cooperating, walk to mail your letters, pick up coffee or grab a few groceries.  Try splitting your grocery shopping into a few smaller trips so you can carry the bags yourself instead of driving.

…relaxing in the evening.

  • playing with the kids on the floor is a natural way to inject exercise into your day, a few moments at a time.  Little babies can be pressed in the air, swung or rocked.  Older babies and young kids can bounce on your legs, ride on your back or simply wrestle!  Older kids love to practise sports skills like throwing, jumping and gymnastics. If your heart rate is up and you’re having fun – guess what? You’re exercising!
  • putting down your tiny baby?  Squat and bounce to challenge your thigh muscles!  Simply keep your bum back and avoid pushing your knees too far forward, past your toes.  Try to squat 10-20 times, then rise and repeat until fatigued or until that little bundle of joy is

    Wait a minute… if you have time for TV, maybe you have time to work out…

    finally asleep.

  • ahhhhh… kids are down and, chances are, you’re on the couch!  Use each commercial break to squeeze in a different exercise and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in one episode of Modern Family.  Try squatting in front of the couch and tapping your bum during the first commercial break, push ups from your knees or toes during the next break, walking lunges during the next and jumping jacks following that.  Then, repeat!  Enjoy the rest between exercises while your show is playing but push yourself during those few minutes.

Happy September!  Be well.

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