Is 30 Minutes Of Exercise A Day Enough? What Is A Working Mom To do?

Hi Allison

I ‘m 44 years old, mother of three, a wife, busy with my kids and their activities and I work 30 hours a week.  Finding time to workout is a challenge and often frustrating. With my crazy and demanding schedule I can only manage 3-4 days a week and working out for more than 30 minutes at a time is almost impossible. Most of my friends have the luxury of exercising for an hour even two everyday.  Some days I feel like giving up because I figure if I can’t workout for an hour 5 or 6 days a week it’s a waste of time. Everything I read says I should workout 6 days a week for a minimum of 45-60 minutes to be healthy and fit.  How can I possibly fit cardio, weights and stretching into 30 minutes.  What is a working mom supposed to do? Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Mom

For starters : You are doing a great job!  Don’t give up… Don’t ever give up!!!  Doing something in the form of exercise is ALWAYS better than doing nothing!

In a perfect world, working out 6-7 days a week for an hour or two and successfully accomplishing the recommended components of a complete exercise regimen (cardiovascular, resistance training, balance and flexibility) would be nice. But let’s be real about the practicalities of life for a working mom! It is NOT PRACTICAL or reasonable for you or anyone else to have these kind of expectations. This is the problem with  ”shoulds” and expectations – they often set us up for failure and disappointment. That being said, you can set those ridiculous expectations aside.  I have a reasonable and doable plan that will put your mind at ease and keep you working out to be healthy and fit for your future!

The key to any successful fitness program is getting the greatest benefits with the time and tools you have! Assuming you have 4 days a week to exercise for 30 minutes, here’s your plan.

You will focus on interval training to work your entire body. You will need a mat, set of 5-10 pound weights (2 sets would be ideal), a body bar, jump rope and a place to walk or jog. Be prepared to push yourself hard because time is limited! Start with a moderate paced walk for 3- 5 minutes. Hold 5 lbs. and walk (faster) for 5 minutes while naturally swinging your arms. Jog or run for 3 minutes (no weights). Jumping Jacks for 30 seconds. Squats with weights at your side for 1 minute. Deep plies with over head shoulder presses using your dumb bells or body bar for 1 minute. Walking lunges with bicep curls for 1 minute. Drop to the mat for push ups for 30 seconds, hold a down dog for 30 seconds, up dog for 30 seconds followed by a standing forward fold for 15 seconds then reach to the sky for 15 sec.. Repeat the entire workout BUT skip the first warmup walk and jumprope instead of jumping jacks. Finally get on your mat and bicycle abs for 1 minute. Finish with an easy spinal twist. There you have it: 30 minutes of high intensity cardio, resistance and flexibility! I will post another 30 minute workout next week. Stay Tuned!  Here is your 30 minute workout one more time.

The 30 Minute Workout

1. 3 min- Moderate warmup walk

2. 5 min- Faster walk with 5 lb weights

3. 3 min-Jog or run

4. 30 sec- Jumping jacks, jump rope, skipping or stair running is also great!

5. 1 min- Squats with heavier weights by your side or resting on your shoulders

6. 1 min- Deep plies with over head body bar press

7. 1 min- Walking lunges with bicep curls

8. 1 min- Pushups 30 sec, old down dog 30 sec, hold up dog for 30 sec, forward fold 30 sec.  Vary your pushups: wide and narrow

9.  Repeat the workout starting with number 2.

10. Finish with 1 minute of bicycle abs and a spinal twist

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  2. Ever since I started to make squats a priority, I have had a great reduction in BF and stamina. Anybody ignoring this staple exercise is missing out greatly.

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