The Moms Guide to Fitness From Home
The first step to changing your fitness lifestyle from home is to eliminate all junk food in the house, as it will be less likely to tempt you. The next step is to perform a cardio exercise which is the best way to lose weight. Cardio strengthens the heart and body and can help protect you against heart disease. Take about ten mins each day, or try for at least three times a week to do some light cardio. These ideas are great for weight loss and can get your heart rate going from the comfort of your home. Some good ideas include:
Brisk walking in your house, up and down the stairs, or in your yard
Cycling on an exercise bike
Jogging on the spot around your home or yard
Swimming if you own a pool
Jumping jacks on the spot or jumping on a mini-trampoline
Squats which can be done holding onto a table or a chair
I prefer 'high-intensity cardio' exercise, which is cardio for a short amount of time, as it burns more calories at one time. Some people are under the impression that running on a treadmill for an hour is burning a ton of calories, which is not true. Not only is running bad for your joints but doing the same cardio every day at the same pace, burns fewer calories because your body adjusts and gets used to the speed.
A better idea is to briskly walk on a treadmill or outdoors for ten mins, then run every three mins for 30 seconds. Giving your body a boost at every interval increases your heart rate and burns more calories. This type of cardio is slightly more advanced, so start off by doing light cardio first, and then slowly transition into the high-intensity cardio once you feel you can manage more.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Fitness
What is HITT? Don't worry, it has nothing to do with actual hitting, but may include some pain or should I say strain! HIIT is what you do when you want to burn fat, and burn it fast! HIIT is short for High Intensity Interval Training, which sounds like a mouthful because it is! But honestly, I'd rather have that than a mouthful of chocolate cake!
So how do you do HITT? Simply said, it is cardio training with short bursts of high intensity and short spells of medium to low intensity. It can be adapted to anything - a treadmill, cycle, Stairmaster, elliptical, or anything that you already have at home. You should remember to wear a heart rate monitor when doing any cardio, as this will give you an indication to either pick up the pace or slow down if you’re overdoing it. Here is an example of HITT exercise using a treadmill, so you get a better idea of what I'm saying:
Set the treadmill for at least 10 minutes if you’re starting off, remember the timer on the treadmill is extremely crucial to this type of workout
For the 1st minute start off at a walking pace
After the 1 minute mark, sprint for 30 seconds
Then jog for the next minute
Sprint again but this time aim for 45 seconds
Repeat and keep going up and down like this until your 10 minutes are up
Next time, try it for 15 mins
This method is excellent to make you shed that excess weight in no time. The aim of HIIT is to increase your heart rate, drop it to just above an idle state, and then pick it up again. Your body will thank you for it and you will notice how many more calories you lose by doing your cardio this way rather than doing a consistent cardio routine.
I have never been a fan of running, besides it being terrible for your knees, you'll most likely get shin splints which are painful. Unless you're training for a marathon, there is no need to cause that much damage to your body when there is a better alternative. When doing consistent cardio, your body gets used to the same routine every day, and you will find that you are not losing as much as you would, whereas, with HIIT it shocks your body into losing weight much faster.
If you are unsure whether this is true, take this test and see how many calories you lose by doing both and then comparing, you will be sure to lose more doing a 10 min interval sprint on the treadmill than constantly running for 30 mins.
Game Console Fitness
For some busy moms who want an easier way to fit in some exercise, there's another great alternative. When my hubby purchased a fitness video game recently, I didn't think much about it as I wasn't one for gaming fitness. After trying a workout, I was amazed at what a sweat I got out of it. It was like having my very own personal trainer!
In the beginning, I did a fitness test which measured my fitness level. Next, I chose a goal, like toning, strengthening, losing weight or getting lean. Then, I planned how many days of the week I wanted to train, and the game worked out exactly what routine was best for me. When I started my workout, I could not keep up! I worked out almost every day, so I was amazed how this game could make me build up a sweat, and get my heart rate up without using any gym equipment.
Without sounding like an advertisement promoting fitness video games, I want to stress that this is another great option if you don't want to leave the comfort of your home, while still burning as many calories as you would at the gym. It is also awesome for mommies who may be too busy to go to the gym, the gym is far away, too expensive, or modesty's an issue. I know for Muslim women it can be uncomfortable to go to mixed gyms - for various reasons, and I think most female-only gyms have limited equipment and availability. All you will need to do is invest in the correct game console to do this workout, but you will save on time and gas.
By working out for just 20 mins a day while your little ones take a nap or your older ones are in school, you can keep up your fitness using the various methods I discussed. So come on busy mama, make your intention to get more fit Inshallah. Remember, where there's a will, there's a way! ;-)
AUTHOR FAUZIA – Mom to an active son and daughter under 10. I have always been someone who tries to see the beauty in everything, and I try my best to live a healthy and active lifestyle. My love of helping others and bringing out the best in them is very rewarding. A mommy’s beauty and health is often neglected, though not intentionally, so we find it hard to take time for ourselves. When one feels good on the inside, it reflects outwardly. Islam teaches us to live healthy, to be active, and not to overindulge. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) taught us these lessons by his beautiful example. I hope my tips bring out a better, beautiful and more fit mommy in you Insha Allah.