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 simply to get up and move for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 or 6 days a week* – walking, jogging, dancing, hiking, lifting weights or doing easy exercises at home. Just that one habit can make a world of difference in a busy woman’s 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. Get into the habit of taking a few minutes, 3 0r 4 days a week, for push-ups. 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.
And, of course, don’t forget about walking. It’s a great exercise 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
A version of this article was also published at The Huffington Post.