You don’t have time to exercise? No problem. There are many unconventional ways to burn calories, even if it’s not routine exercise.
Option 1 – Play with the kids
Kids have plenty of energy that we as adults can tap into whether we are their moms, dads, aunts, uncles or grandparents. They would absolutely love it because it’s a great bonding session.
You can kick a ball around and pretend to have a makeshift soccer game in the garden or even throw a ball around as though to play rugby. Join the kids during hopscotch like the olden days and if yours don’t know how to (because kids nowadays spend a lot of time with their eyes on gadgets) you can teach them.
Some sports shops sell weighted hula hoops. They are inexpensive and don’t take up too much space in the house. Hula hoops are a great core and hip workout. You and the kids will have a good laugh but you’ll walk away knowing that you toned your abs to a certain degree.
If your kids are too young to walk, simply stick them in a stroller and go for a walk or a run in the neighbourhood with them. Alternatively, you can do pram workouts with them like squatting and doing lunges in the garden.
If the kids are in the crawling stage, you can lay a mat in the garden or even in the house and do some mom and baby, or dad and baby exercises with them. For example, you lie on your back and have the baby sitting on your hips and you sit up to kiss them. The baby will think it’s a game and you, as the mom or dad, will be getting an abs workout.
If your kids are slightly older toddlers and are learning to ride a bike, you can take them out on a ride and push them up all the hills. They will have fun, while you get a workout from all the pushing.
Kids generally enjoy roller skating if exposed to it. Look for a roller rink in your area. They typically hire out skates for the kids and adults. As the adult, you can either run around with them as they learn how to skate or you can learn with them. It’s quite challenging and will definitely target your quads, hamstrings and your glutes.
Trampolines have never gone out of fashion for kids, whether it’s the trampoline at home or one at a large facility like Bounce. Jumping on a trampoline for at least 15 minutes will burn some calories, so join the kids, have some fun and laugh away the calories.
Whatever option you go for, you are bound to raise your heart rate and burn calories and at the same time spend some quality time with the kids.
Option 2 – Gardening
One thing that some people are unaware of is that gardening is an actual workout if done correctly. The repetitive bending over to plant seeds or pull out weeds can be an intense squatting session for your thighs.
Of course, if you do this activity while kneeling you aren’t reaping the benefits but if you crouch in a squat position throughout your gardening session your quads and glutes will thank you later.
As you move around the garden you can lunge from one spot to the next to make it more fun and tone your thighs even further.
Option 3 – Cleaning the house
There are clever ways to get a workout from cleaning the house. You can sweep in a squat position and do lunges from one room to the next. The same can be done while you vacuum the carpets. You can start by standing upright and proceed to do lateral lunges by sweeping and vacuuming side to side.
Lunges can be done while walking from corner to corner. Squats can be done when you concentrate on cleaning one spot repetitively while you squat up and down. If you mop the floors the traditional way with a cloth while on your knees, your abs could benefit in a big way.
Try this exercise: while on all fours, place both your hands on the wet cloth on the floor and slide the cloth forward until you are in the plank position. Hold it there for a second and then pull it back to the start with both hands. This will be hard and challenging at first, but in good time it will get easier – and your abs will thank you.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu Twitter: @letshegom. Facebook: Letshego Zulu