Pandemic, work-from-home, chores that multiply, ever-expanding to-do lists, piling laundry and never-ending homework. In this chaos, health has clearly taken a backseat for most mothers. Not many of us have the time or money to invest in a personal trainer or follow run-of-the mill-exercise-regimens. If you, like me, find it difficult to squeeze in time for exercising – and even uninterrupted 30 minutes a day seems difficult - start small. One step at a time is a great mantra for all busy moms.
Here are 8 easy ways to get fitter:
1. 100 jumps as soon as you get out of the bed
This one is easy. Unless you are waking up to your boss calling frantically, or your child needing immediate attention, make it a habit to do 100 jumps as and when you get out of the bed. If not possible immediately, do it before you drink or eat anything.
This helps to kick start your lymphatic system, and wake up your metabolism. Remember to hold your breasts while jumping even if you are wearing a bra, and keep your knees soft (micro-bend in the knees) throughout.
2. Drink water every time you enter the kitchen
Once you start drinking water every time you enter the kitchen consistently, you will notice changes in your metabolism, and skin.
You can also start with having a glass of water before eating or drinking anything. Yes, you do have the option to add honey and lemon or have cumin water. Plain water, however, is easier to get even when you are not at your home.
3. Squat while that milk boils
If you are going to watch that milk, you might as well squat while in the kitchen. Do not go too low, and do not curve your back. Start with one or two, and then build on. It’s easy and wouldn’t require much time. It will help tighten your core and improve your posture.
You can also try chest openers while standing. Clutch your arms behind your back and look up while keeping your back straight. Your shoulder blades should touch each other. It not only stretches the muscles in the back of your body but also stretches the muscles in your chest, shoulders and abdomen as well.
You can also aim for chair pose, or pulse in chair pose to strengthen and tone your thighs. It is also good for your knees.
4. Walk while talking on the phone
Every time you get a call, stand up and walk around, even if it’s a minute-long call. While walking during video calls might not be a good idea, you can try lunges as well when only talking on the phone. Sumo squat pulses are a good idea too.
5. Stand on a single leg
You can do this easily while brushing your teeth, but keep alternating between legs. This will help in stabilising your balance and lessen your chances of falling over as you grow older. If it’s too easy for you, try single-leg squats or standing on your toes. Your legs and calves will thank you.
6. Stand while chopping/cutting veggies, fruits, etc
We are so used to sitting while doing office work or watching something that we forget that sitting is the new smoking. Avoid sitting for long hours, and make an effort to stand up for 5 minutes for every 20 minutes of standing.
Try to chop and cut your veggies while standing, and bring some relief to your lower back as well.
7. 100 steps after every main meal
This should actually be a rule for everyone at home. Easier than clocking 10k steps, believe me, and effective as well. You can add more steps if you wish to, but let it not turn into a brisk walk. Walk slow and easy, around the house.
8. Stretch before sleeping
Try doing some stretches before you doze off. These poses not only relax your mind but also help your muscles to relax. Try child’s pose, sphinx pose, thread the needle, neck stretch and head rolls, spinal twist and figure 4 stretch. You would need to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds for maximum benefits.
You can also try massaging your ears, arm and knee rotations any time of the day.
Start small, start easy, and stay consistent. If you can, try and avoid processed food and every time you reach out for that pack of biscuits, drink a glass of water instead. Motivation or no motivation, being consistent will pay off in the longer and smaller run.
You can also give a mindful yoga practice a try.
Stay healthy, stay sane!
Ananya is a Delhi-based WFH mother.