For some Mums, squeezing in any sort of exercise around the kids is almost impossible.
Grand intentions of Pilates whilst the children play happily is more likely to resemble you lying on your back like a turtle trying to turn over, whilst an army of feral kids try to dislocate your neck and knee joints.
Sound familiar? Why not try some sneaky exercises you can squeeze into your daily routine and the kids won’t even realise what you are up to.
Lisa Telford, director and head teacher of Yoga for the Seasons – a Japanese style of Yoga, recommends tying sneaky exercises to a repetitive task that you undertake regularly and then do the exercise at the same time.
For example, washing the dishes is a great time for alternating calf lifts and pelvic floor exercises, utilising the time exercising when you could otherwise just be standing there. Other great tasks to tie in are driving, breastfeeding or folding washing.
Here are 5 fabulous sneaky exercises to get you started!
Before anything else, you’ll need comfy workout wear!
The first sneaky exercise all mums or mums-to-be should be working into their routine is, of course, Pelvic Floor Exercises. Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your back passage, vagina and front passage and lift up inside as if trying to stop passing wind and wee at the same time. Try to hold the muscles strong and tight as you count to 8. Now let them go and relax.
Did you know that just holding your core muscles ‘on’ as often as possible is more effective than doing sit-ups? Press heels into the floor and then extend up and through the hips, as if pulled up by belt loops. Zip by lifting through the belly button and extending the spine upward. Open through the shoulders and chest and continue to lift. Relax shoulder blades down and into the centre of the back, and extend the neck up as if being lifted up by your ears. Draw your chin back and slightly in, eyes look straight ahead and breathe. You should be able to get into this position and walk around or sit or drive etc.
Calf raises are a simple low-intensity exercise to strengthen and tone your calf muscles and butt, when done regularly. Stand up straight and position your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes. Balance your body weight on the balls of your feet. Alternate lowering and raising each heel or do both at the same time.
Squats are a great exercise to introduce to your daily routine. Simply exchange any bending for squatting. Start by standing slightly crouched with feet approximately shoulder distance apart. Shoulders should be relaxed down and back. Turn on your core muscles and take a deep breath. While slowly exhaling, gently lower yourself by bending your hips and knees keeping your head above your knees. This should be done without bending your back. It is important that you keep your head as though you are looking straight ahead. Go down as low as you can comfortably go. Hold this position and take a deep breath. While slowly exhaling return to the starting position.
Resistance bands are perfect for quick stretching/exercise – the bands just make things more effective!
Laying around? Add a bolster by rolling up a towel and placing it underneath your spine from the neck down. Then lay back (for about 7 minutes) to open your chest, provide relief to muscles over used by breastfeeding and carrying kids and relax. Alternatively lie with your legs up the wall so your body makes a 90 degree angle to calm the nervous system, improve circulation, drain pooled fluid, clear your mind and relieve lower back pain.