As a parent, “something is better than nothing” can be a great mantra to keep in your back pocket for pretty much anything: getting your kids to eat
vegetables, coming up with projects to keep your kids busy, cleaning your house. Actually, go ahead and keep that one in your front pocket, because you’re gonna need it! For me this is also my mantra when it comes to exercise.
Sure I love when I can get in a full workout that takes at least 30 minutes. I am one of those people that completely loves and believes in the benefits of exercise. But you know what? It’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes it feels downright impossible. On the days that I have appointments, extra meetings, early dismissal from my school, or things just aren’t going as planned (isn’t that EVERY day?), I go for the Something is Better Than Nothing Workout. Take 10 minutes out of your day to do 3 simple exercises. You don’t need any equipment and don’t even have to change into your workout clothes if you don’t want to.
Before I really dive in, please know that I am not a personal trainer, and I’m definitely not a doctor. You should always make sure it’s okay with your doctor before really getting into exercise. You should also do exercises that are right for your body.
This is a workout you can do pretty much anywhere. I’ve done this on vacation, visiting family, and in the living room with my kids shooting foam darts around me. It should take you about 10 minutes and works most of your major muscle groups. This is intended to be a mini-circuit. Do each exercise once, then move onto the next one. Complete the circuit 3 times.
Plank – During the first 2 circuits, hold your plank for 1 minute (less if that is just TOO hard for you, or more if you can push it). On your last rotation, hold for as long as you can.
The plank is equally my most and least favorite exercise. To do a plank, your body weight is held by your forearms and feet with your body in a straight line parallel to the ground. Keeping your body flat, and not letting your booty stick up is key to getting the most out of this. Sometimes my wrists are a little sensitive, so I prefer doing planks as pictured with my elbows on the ground. I make sure my elbows are directly under my shoulders, extend my forearms onto the ground, and hold it. Planks work SO MUCH of your body: abs, back, quads, glutes, and chest.
Push Ups – Whether traditional push ups (on your feet) or “girl style”, do 20 push ups each circuit.
Push ups are an oldie but a goodie. Take your time on these to keep good form. You want to make sure your hands are under your shoulders, not out in front of you. Lower your body down, then press back up.
Wall Sit – During the first two circuits, hold for one minute. On your last rotation, hold for as long as you can. You can vary the distance from the ground you are each time.
I try to add something for my legs into every workout. A wall sit is a simple way to target 2 pretty large muscle groups:hamstrings, and quads. Take your time when setting up for your wall sit. Place your feet about 2 feet away from a wall. Lean back onto the wall and slide down like you are going to sit down in a chair. I make sure my knees are stacked right over my ankles. Then I hold. I’ve been told that it’s good to change the distance between you and the ground each time to better work the muscles. Try dropping a little lower each time you “sit.”
There are a lot of things not in this workout, but that’s not the point. Remember, this is just meant to be a something is better than nothing routine. Even if you only do the circuit one time, you’ve done SOMETHING.
I get a lot of motivation and ideas from Erin’s Facebook group, Take Back Me. I know Kristin mentioned it in Feburary when she wrote about making time for exercise after kids. It’s a very supportive and positive group. Maybe I’ll see you there. 😉