By Jennifer O'Neill
If you're like most moms, you carefully choreograph your days to get everything done. And that means plenty of multitasking. Exercise, however, probably isn't included in your dance. After all, you can't get to the gym or do an exercise video while, say, cooking dinner or reading email.
But what if you didn't need the gym or even a chunk of time to reap the rewards or exercise? "Doing squats while you brush your teeth or standing pushups in the kitchen only takes two minutes, and it makes a difference to your health," says Shirley Archer, author of Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week.
Specifically, strength training has been shown to reduce depression symptoms, diabetes risk and back pain, plus strengthen your bones. It also boosts metabolism. Women who strength-train burn more calories in the 24 hours afterward than they would if they hadn't worked out, according to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
In every room of your home is an opportunity to exercise, says Archer. So tap into your multitasking skills and try her easy routine. You can do the moves throughout your day -- just try to do each move one to three times a day, three times per week.
Exercise: Single-leg Squats
Instead of just standing while working the toothbrush around your molars, work your hips, thighs, stomach and back too:
Exercise: Counter Pushups
Next time you're in the kitchen, strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest, stomach and back:
Exercise: Traveling Lunges
Turn your room-to-room travels into a quick toning session for legs and hips:
Room: Dining Room
Exercise: Chair Triceps Dips
You probably spend a lot of non-eating time at the dining table -- on your laptop, scrapbooking, feeding your kids -- why not also firm up your arms and shoulders while there?
Room: Living Room
Exercise: Sofa Squats
Commercial breaks don't have to be boring. Use the two minutes to tone your legs, hips, stomach and back:
If you try this routine for a week, you'll see just how easily exercise can fit into your daily life. Not only will you begin to feel and look better, you'll have more energy -- and what multitasking mom doesn't want that?
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Jennifer O'Neill is a staff editor at Us Weekly and a freelance writer who covers fitness, diet and health. She has previously been on the editorial staffs of SELF and Allure.