I wish I looked this cute doing jumping jacks

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, I thought I’d talk about some of the ways to increase your activity level during this busy time.  I for one can understand the limited time everyone has for all the things that require our attention.  Family for one, can be exhausting.  There seems to be less hours in a day now that is gets dark at say, 4:30pm (I live in CST).  Outdoor activities are hard when the temperature drops below freezing which leads to lack of motivation and desire to workout.  My philosophy is if I don’t wake up and do my workout first thing in the morning, it won’t get done, but there are days when it’s just not possible to wake up at 5 am, go out in the pitch black tundra we call Chicago and force myself to run.  Being almost 7 months pregnant has a lot do with my reduced inclination, but I know how important it is to maintain my health during this time.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends everyone do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise.  That is only 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  To break that down to 10 minutes, 3 times a day is completely doable.  I can think of all the different times throughout my day when I can add in a 10 minute mini-workout. In the morning while my son is eating breakfast, I have been known to force myself into doing 300 repetitions of any exercises I choose.  It’s my own “3oo workout”.  I might choose 50 squats, 50 push ups, 50 front kicks, 50 punches, 50 crunches and 50 jumping jacks.  I don’t do them all together but break each exercise up into groups of 10 and then take a rest.  My son thinks it’s hilarious watching his crazy Mommy jump around for 10 minutes.  I usually put on some tunes and give my son a show.  I’m not kidding when I say I am sweating by the end.

Adding in an additional 20 minutes throughout the day is a little more challenging, but I am trying to come up with ways to incorporate some sort of an endurance event into my day.  Lately my son and I have our very own little “dance party”.  I forgot how fun it is to put on music and dance around the room.  It becomes a great workout if you are picking up your child and swinging him around for 10 minutes.  We espoused a bunch of toddler songs off of Pandora which embrace jumping, shaking, twisting and dropping to the ground.  Once engaged, we are usually dancing for more than 10 minutes, sometimes 20 or 30.  I feel I am doing something productive for both myself and my kid.

I always try to introduce more flexibility into my life.  As I age, I find it helps my fitness level to stay limber.  At the end of the day, I attempt to stretch for at least 10-15 minutes, whether I have worked out prior or not.  Static stretching reduces injuries and increases flexibility both vital in achieving  your exercise goals.  Since I am a yoga junkie I sit crossed legged (sukasana), and do some gentle twists in either direction.  If I can, I will sit in half lotus (where either foot is on my opposite knee).  I also always appreciate a good child’s pose or pigeon.  I love stretching out my hips.

I definitely don’t workout every day.  I try to get in 5 days a week (everyone needs at least one rest day, right?) but on the days when it’s just not feasible, I typically feel better by doing some sort of activity.  When you are home all day with a toddler, and it’s barely 20 degrees outside, you have to get creative and with your options.  What I love about Skinny Mom is that Brooke always gives us plenty of inspiration and motivation to just do it.  This website always has ready made, quick, at home workouts you can do just to get you started.  The rest is up to you. Skinny Mom also has Morning Wake Up Calls on Facebook most days of the week with at home workouts that really work!! Check them out here. Also check out the Skinny Workouts board on SM’s Pinterest page.

Photo from blog.nutribomb.com