5 Quick Exercise Ideas or “Snacks” for the Busy Mom

We all know that exercise is key to health. But the demands on our time are never ending. It’s hard to find the time to tend to the basic needs of ourselves and our children, much less find an hour to exercise. It has been shown that even a few minutes of moderate to intense exercise can significantly improve health. Here are five exercise “snacks,” or short bouts of exercise, that can be incorporated into even the busiest of schedules. 

5 Exercise “Snacks” For the Busy MomExercise Snack #1: No Thank You, Office Butt

Sitting at a desk all day for our job is a reality for many. Sitting for many hours a day isn’t ideal for our health or posture. Enter an exercise snack! If you can get up out of your chair and do a quick and vigorous bout of exercise during your workday, it will kick start your metabolism, work your heart and body, and give that bottom a rest. And it will also increase focus on your work.

» » »  RELATED READ: Tips to Cultivate a Fitness Routine After Kids  « « «

If you don’t have an office, find a private place like a bathroom or outside area to exercise if you’re shy. Do this 1-4 times a workday. Here are some ideas for exercises: squats, jumping jacks, push ups, calf raises, lunges, rows (if you have some weights around), and so many more. Get your heart beating fast and become out of breath to get maximum benefit!

Exercise Snack #2: Calves, an Underrated Muscle

An indicator of future ill health is frequent glucose spikes. Glucose spikes happen after we eat a meal, especially one with high carbohydrates or sugar. The food is broken down into glucose which enters the bloodstream. When the glucose levels in our blood are chronically high (a common occurrence for many modern folks), it causes inflammation which can lead to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

So what do your calves have to do with all this? A calf muscle called the soleus has a unique characteristic–it takes glucose directly out of the bloodstream. This is because, unlike other muscles, it doesn’t have the ability to store glucose in its tissues. The result is that you are reducing glucose in the blood if you use your calves after a meal! My favorite way to do this is seated calf raises right at the dinner table, rising up on the toes then back down for 3 minutes. You can also do standing calf raises or find a step to place your toes on to get full range. 

Exercise Snack #3: Turbo to Kickstart Your Metabolism

Turbo-ing is a way to kickstart your metabolism and jostle your body out of its comfort zone. To turbo, start at a comfortable walking pace then speed it up for a minute. The goal is to pick a pace that causes you to become out of breath. Rest for a minute, or however long it takes to regain your breath, and repeat three times. You can also do this up stairs, around your yard, on the greenbelt, etc. The whole exercise should only take about 6 minutes but can be done for a longer duration of time if you want to incorporate turbo-ing into a walk or lunch break!

Exercise Snack #4: Cleaning Can Be a Workout

We got to do it anyway, so why not get a two for one and get our heart rate bumping while we clean? Ways to increase your strength and endurance while you clean:

  • Take a deep squat (instead of bending) or deadlift (tipping from the hip while picking stuff up off the floor)
  • Scrub extra hard, switching arms so that both get worked
  • Push that vacuum a little faster, switching arms as well, or take lunges as you push your vacuum around if you have a big space
  • Hover in a squat or lunge position while cleaning the toilet bowl
  • Get down on hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor instead of mopping

All of this is best accompanied by a good soundtrack or podcast!

Exercise Snack #5: Dance Dance Dance!

Exercise doesn’t have to be a drag–it can be fun! Dance is a fantastic way to accomplish some movement that not only involves your body but also your brain-body connection. Put on a YouTube dance tutorial video to follow along with if you need some inspiration. I suggest doing this with your kiddos if they are willing. It can be a good way to calm before-school jitters or before-bed zoomies. Dance as long as you want. No time expectation for this one, just enjoy.

Incorporating just a few of these exercise snacks into your day-to-day life will improve your health and make you feel more energized during the day. Feel free to reach out with any questions or ways that you incorporate exercise snacks in your day!

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boise Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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