Do you feel zapped of energy whenever you actually have the time to work out? This laid-back home-exercise routine will burn calories and boost your energy -- and you need only 20 minutes to do it!
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Too Tired to Workout?
Sure, a long day of taking care of your little ones can be exhausting, but before you skip your workout, consider this: If you can move or for just five minutes, you'll actually feel more energized, since physical activity gets your heart pumping and increases the oxygen flowing through your muscles, says fitness instructor Jill Brown, of Gold's Gym in Venice Beach, California. To get pumped, play your favorite high-energy music. Then do Brown's 20-minute workout.
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor (place your child on your hips for a greater challenge). Keeping your head and shoulders on the ground, squeeze your glutes, and slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling. Lower them, hovering just above the floor. Do three sets of 12-20 reps.
Target muscles: lower back, hips, buttocks, and belly
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands supporting the back of your head. Use your abs to lift your shoulders off floor, bringing your left elbow across your belly to touch your right knee. Return to start position, then bring your right elbow to your left knee. Do three sets of 20 right and left twists.
Target muscles: front and side abdominals
Start with your hands on the ground in a full push-up position, contracting your belly to support your spine and pelvis. Bring your left knee up to your chest, rounding your upper back slightly, then return to start position. Quickly repeat the same move with your right leg. Pick up pace as you alternate legs. Do three sets of 20.
Target muscles: chest, back, arms, legs, and abs
Place your hands on a low stool or bottom step with your arms straight, elbows pointed back, and your legs outstretched. Keeping your arms close to your sides, lower your butt until your elbows bend at 90 degrees. Slowly push back up, then repeat for a total of 10-20 reps. Do two to three sets total.
Target muscles: arms, chest, and upper back
Originally published in the September 2010 issue of Parents magazine.
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