Whether you are a stay at home mum, work from home mum or are home-bound for various reasons, there are many ways that you can stay fit and healthy under your own roof.
During the pandemic of 2020, most gyms and home studios were forced by the authorities to close their businesses due to the need for individuals to quarantine and reduce the spread of the corona virus.
Consequently, people who wanted to stay fit and healthy had to find other ways to keep fit at their home. I was one of them.
Although I have always worked from home, I am a regular at my local gym. Due to the quarantine, I reluctantly had to find exercises that I would do by myself at home without a trainer cracking a whip.
I have always enjoyed having someone at a gym keeping me accountable. But when I was home all by myself, I needed to know that I could quickly do the exercises, be consistent every day and still keep myself fit and strong.
What I did next was the smartest move I made in terms of keeping fit.
I called up my friend who is a bad ass personal trainer and I asked her “what form of exercises can I do from home that do not take a lot of time but will give me significant strength and fitness results?”
Now she knows that I am externally motivated. So giving me a detailed and extensive training program was totally out of the question.
What I wanted was a fast paced program that I could do in under 20 minutes. A program that I could commit to and know that I could still get results.
She sent me some great advice and suggestions, and I called it my “Keeping Freaky Fit From Home” Program.
Body Weight Training and HIIT
We all know that body weight training, especially for females is one of the best ways we can keep strong, look amazing and get our blood pumping.
So a mix of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and body weight training is a fantastic workout especially when you don’t leave the house.
What does HIIT involve? Well, think short fast bursts of energy, like quick sprints and then intermittent rest periods.
If you have not been training for a while, this type of exercise program is great.
The key is to start with really short bursts, even 10 seconds is great.
Then rest for 10 seconds.
Example 1. A Cardio HIIT workout would look like the following:
- Run to your backyard fence
- Walk back
- Then repeat 5-8 times
That is it.
That might take you 10 minutes.
Boom! You have started!
That is enough for your first day of your program.
Then repeat each day adding on more repetitions.
Now for a body weight HIIT workout, which does not require any equipment, simply a few things that you have in your kitchen.
Note that these activities are also to be performed with speed.
Example 2 – A Body Weight HIIT workout would look like the following:
- Fill up a 2 litre milk carton with water, or if you are game, fill with sand.
- Lift the milk cartons in each hand by their handles from the ground up to standing. And then lower them very slowly.
- Do this 2 times until you get the hang of the exercise.
- Once you have done that, set your timer for 10 seconds. Feel free to use an egg timer if you don’t have a phone with a timer. Then lift as many as you can within a 10 second time frame.
- Rest for 10 seconds then repeat.
- Do this 5 times.
- Once you find this easy, level up to a 3 litre milk cartons and repeat the above activity.
Once again, that is it.
Also, check out YouTube for loads of exercises you can do with milk cartons or other items around the home. The options are endless. But it is important that you maintain good posture whilst you are performing the activity, so pay particular attention to form.
Body weight training gives you a challenging workout by using your body as resistance. This is great way to build strength and improve your fitness levels while you are at home.
Quick Body Weight Exercises You Can Do if You’re a Work at Home Mum
Using just your body weight improves flexibility and balance by targeting and engaging all important muscle groups with a few exercises like squats, push-ups and sit-ups. Interval training is also an excellent way to keep fit, and you don’t require much space. Fast pushups, skipping, burpees, or jump squats will have your sweat glands working in no time.
Let’s look at some other great exercise ideas
Although this is a no brainer for fitness enthusiasts, it’s still important to make sure you’re doing them in the correct posture to avoid injury and reap the most benefits.
Your hips, spine and shoulders should all align and you can do as many reps as you like. You can make them more challenging by extending your hands further to exercise different muscle groups.
Performing proper sit-ups is a great way to exercise and strengthen your core especially when your usual routine is on hold. You simply need to lay on your back, cross your hands behind your back, bend your knees, and move your chin (upper body from the waist) towards your knees.
Also known as bodyweight squats, this is an all-round exercise that helps you strengthen all muscle groups below your waist.
Align your knees and shoulders with your toes pointing slightly outwards, look straight ahead, put your hands straight in front of you, and slowly go down. Be sure to relax your shoulders and open your chest.
Keep your heels on the floor and go lower than your knees. If you find the movement or posture challenging, you can use a door frame or chair for upper body support.
Single leg jumps
Jumping on a single leg as opposed to two is an excellent way to correct or even out muscle imbalance. Single leg jumps also help improve acceleration, coordination and reactivity.
Place one knee slightly ahead of your toes and slightly tilt back before you start. This allows you to gain momentum from the opposite side of your body.
Home Training Using High-Tech Options
If you have access to high-tech equipment such as a treadmill, rowing machine, or exercise bike, this is the time to take full advantage.
I looked into buying a cardio machine and was unsure which one would suit me the best. I tried a few out at my local fitness store and to my surprise, I found that the rowing machine was my favorite.
After researching the best rowing machine for home use, I invested in a basic model. I placed it in a corner of our living room as I thought my family might also use it. Sure enough, they do!
My son gets up early and rows for 10 minutes before his breakfast while my husband will get on it when he comes home from work. It has been a real win for our family and our health.
A rowing machine gives you a full-body workout and it certainly burns the calories! My calves, thighs, abs, back as well as arms and shoulders are now evident of that!
If you have the space and money, you can set up a home gym with just a few pieces of equipment. But do your homework when you look into the costs of these as they can vary significantly from one brand to the next.
You Don’t Need The Fanciest Exercise Equipment when Exercising at Home
You do not need a piece of equipment that has all of the fancy buttons and extra functions. Just choose the most basic model and go with that. This is especially important because in all honesty, most exercise equipment gathers more dust in the home than any other item. So if you want to test if you will use it regularly, try hiring it before you buy it.
In terms of static equipment, again you do not need to invest in a lot. With just a few items, you can perform a myriad of exercises and variations with these. Items my trainer recommended were:
- an adjustable bench and rack
- weight plates
Ideal for presses, pushes, squats, rows, and deadlifts.
Stay motivated and Set goals for your Exercise
If you’re not accustomed to spending most of your time indoors, it’s easy to lose motivation from time to time. Therefore, it’s particularly important to set goals, small and big, and create a workout schedule.
Put your workout schedule somewhere that you will see it. Mine is on my fridge. I see it every day and it is a constant reminder to move my body daily.
Routine is of utmost importance in order to avoid distractions. You can set yourself short workout sessions 3 to 4 times a day to make limited resources go further and break the day up.
So if you are a stay at home Mum, then I hope this information has been helpful to you and your quest to stay fit and fabulous in your own home.
Jamie Murphy is passionate about her family, motherhood, career, and fitness. Over the years, she has accumulated lots of useful information and tips around the benefits of rowing machines. Jamie founded Rowing Machine Pros to help other work from home mums accelerate their health and fitness regimes