One of the things busy women need to do (and often struggle to do) is to exercise regularly. Not necessarily to go to the gym or an exercise class every day, but to simply to get up and move for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 or 6 days a week* by walking, jogging, dancing, hiking, lifting weights, or doing easy exercises at home.
Just that one habit can make a world of difference in your mental and physical health, and it’s well worth the effort it takes to make time for it, even in the midst of a busy personal or family schedule.
Sometimes, though, you don’t have 30 minutes, but you do have 10 – or maybe just 5. Or you’ve walked or worked out for 30 minutes in the morning, but want to give your body a little extra boost in the afternoon or evening. For those situations, here are 4 simple exercises to do at home – or almost anywhere, using a few minutes here and there that even the busiest woman can find in her schedule:
Simple Exercises to Do at Home
• Posture check and maintenance – Good posture makes you look and feel better and promotes good health Many women, though (including me) tend toward poor posture – a little slumpy, a little slouchy. So try the ‘wall test’ – a quick posture check. Now the real trick – step away from the wall and maintain that body position. Don’t just focus on your back and shoulders though, but also tighten and engage your core muscles, which are critical to good posture. It may feel very awkward at first – it did for me! Spend a few minutes several times each day aligning and then maintaining your posture.
• Kegel exercises -The pelvic floor muscle, which supports the organs of the urinary and reproductive systems, can stretch and weaken during pregnancy and childbirth. This can lead to incontinence, bladder or uterine prolapse, and possibly reduced sexual response. Kegel exercises, which involve a simple squeezing/holding action that contracts and strengthens this muscle, can help prevent these problems. Get into the habit of doing Kegels several times a day. You can do them anywhere – while standing, sitting or lying down – quickly, easily and discreetly.
• Push-ups – Want to tone your arms, chest and core but don’t have much time? Then drop and give me 10 (or 20)! Push-ups pay tremendous dividends for a small investment of time and energy, so get into the habit of taking a few minutes, 3 or 4 days a week, to do some. And if you’re doing them for the first time, start with modified push-ups. As you get stronger, add some traditional push-ups.
• Squats – What push-ups do for your upper body, squats do for your lower body – provide a lot of muscle toning for a modest amount of effort. In addition, it’s easy to squeeze squats into a busy schedule several times a week. Check out this quick video and step-by-step guide to make sure you’re using proper form.
(A physical therapist once told me that if he could only do two strength exercises regularly, he’d choose push-ups and squats!)
And, of course, don’t forget about walking. It’s a great exercise (it’s even good for your brain!) and you can do it just about anywhere, even if you only have a few minutes. So get in the habit of walking at home and work, while shopping and while waiting at your children’s activities. Anytime you have a few minutes and a safe place to walk, get up and go!
I’m pretty good about walking every day, but I need to get stronger. So I’m working to incorporate all four of these exercises into my schedule each week. Give a couple of them a try and let me know how they work for you.
You may also like
- 4 Ways Exercise Can Improve Your Health – and Sex Life!
- 10 Ways to Make Time for Exercise
- How to Make Time for Exercise – When You Don’t Have Time to Exercise
*Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
A version of this article was also published at
I like it! Your whole blog was amazing to read GC. Thank you!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Nedalee.
Marjorie Briggs says
Smart! We all need to keep exercising at least a little a day. (Stopping by from your Link Party)
Kelly's Reality says
I am such a fanatic about good posture! I always tell people you can do a million crunches but if you’re slouching then your stomach will pooch and hang over. I credit most of my abs to that. Great blog hope to see some updates soon.
Thanks Kelly. I am trying to be more fanatic about posture. It’s so important to health, and also has a huge impact on how we look and feel.
Your Doctor's Wife says
Kegels!!! Every time I sneeze, I damn myself for forgetting the Kegels!! 🙂
Great to have you linking up with us for Medical Monday!!!
Thanks for linking up with Medical Mondays and the reminder that exercise is key to good health:-) Now I should hit the treadmill.
Thanks Jane. It’s good for reducing stress too!
Yes, I need to fix my posture! I started reading and instantly made sure I unhunched! Thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday!
Just reading your comment made me straighten up – lol! My posture is definitely a work in progress!
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Amber Day Hicks says
I just need the motivation to do them, I guess… 🙂
Mel @ Trailing After God says
Great tips on exercises. I need to be doing more of this. I had expected to find a post on marriage though coming from To Love, Honor and Vacuum, today.
Hi Mel – Thanks for stopping by. Since Sheila sometimes shares posts about taking care of yourself and looking good, I thought that a post about exercise fit in with her overall theme.
I find myself hunched over all the time! I know proper posture even makes you look thinner, so I try to remind myself- shoulders back, chest out! 🙂 Thanks for the great little roundup and for linking up with Let’s Get Real!
Missy Homemaker says
Excellent choices! I like to do planks, lunges and calf raises too 🙂
Thanks Missy. I thought about including planks – they are so good for so many things. I know that lunges are good too, but for some reason I hate them so much – lol.
Thanks for stopping by.
Vashti Quiroz-Vega says
Hi! Great tips! I try to check my posture whenever I remember. I do kegel exercises as I drive to and from work. When I go to the restroom at work I usually do squats and some stretches when Im done.
Hi Vashti – I try to do Kegel exercises when driving too. Might as well make good use of the time!
Thanks for stopping by.
My football playing son is going to laugh at my push-ups you know. My dance teacher used to make us do push-ups at each class. That was the last time I was really in shape. I’m getting better…….a little exercise here and a little there. I was able to stay out on the dance floor with my husband longer the last time we were out. That’s the kind of improvement I appreciate the most. Keep encouraging me, baby!
More dancing = worth all of your efforts!
Yes, my sons are amused by many of the things I do too. I try to ignore them, or say “Would you rather I be old and decrepit?” They just roll their eyes!
My lunge secret is to take the steps two at a time going up (but not down). Great advice to sneak in exercise for busy moms. Coming by via the Mommy Monday Blog Hop.
Oh, that is a good secret! I’m going to give that a try.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
christyfitzty Fitzwater says
Oh boy, I really need you in my life right now. Things are great in my life except for the buttoning-the-pants thing. Keep encouraging me to exercise! (It’s just so hard with a new job, she said with a whine.)
Thanks Christy! I will keep encouraging (some would say harassing!) all of us, because I think exercise is so important for our bodies and minds.
I knew Kegel’s would be one of the exercises 😉
LOL Lydia – I must be too predictable!