Niki Campbell by Niki Campbell
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Modern life can make it challenging for parents to find the time to squeeze in a workout. When combined with a global pandemic that brings new sources of stress, added responsibilities and stay-at-home orders, exercise can feel like a Herculean task. While we can’t control things like a new and unpredictable virus, the weather or the moods of our kiddos in these trying times, there are simple ways to incorporate movement and activity into daily life.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults accumulate 150 minutes of exercise each week, which is roughly 30 minutes a day, five days a week. When you have access to a gym, pool, park or other facility, this might be an easy goal to reach. When faced with being homebound and having limited availability of equipment, space and time, however, you’ll have to get creative with your sweat sessions and possibly get the whole family involved.

Here’s some good news: Working out a home doesn’t have to be boring! There are lots of ways to get your heart rate up and have fun in the process. The following two sample workouts can be done almost anywhere and are appropriate for both adults and school-age children.

Workout #1 – Total-body Burn (Compound Exercises)

After a five-minute warm-up, repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes. Finish up with a cool-down and stretch.

Equipment: Dumbbells if available, lower body band, mat

5-minute Warm-up

  • Jog in place or air jump rope
  • Lateral lunges
  • Arm circles (both directions)
  • Neck/head rolls (both directions)
  • Leg swings
  • Trunk rotation
Exercise Reps Optional Weight
Stationary Lunge with Bicep Curls 10 on each leg Light-Medium
Squat to overhead press 10-12 Light-Medium
Glute bridge with chest fly 12 Light-Medium 
Tricep dips on stairs or bench 10-12  
Traditional push-up (modified if needed) 10  
CARDIO BREAK - Screamer Lunges 30 Seconds each leg Medicine Ball

CORE:

   
CARDIO BREAK - Speed Skaters 30 seconds  Resistance band on ankles

5-minute Cool-down/Stretch

Workout #2 – Cardio EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

After a five-minute warm-up, repeat the circuit twice in 20 minutes. Finish with a cool-down and stretch.

5-minute Warm-up

  • High knees march in place
  • Lateral lunges
  • Arm circles (both directions)
  • Neck/head rolls (both directions)
  • Leg swings
  • Trunk rotation

Give yourself one minute to complete each exercise. If you are done before the minute is up, rest

5-minute Cool-down/Stretch

All the exercises in each workout can be modified or performed without using dumbbells or other weights. If you have a treadmill, stationary bike, rower or other exercise machine at home, you can use them for warming up or adding more cardio to your at-home workouts.

With any home-based workout, remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The goal is to use good form, increase your heart rate and have fun. Make it a competition with your kids and keep track of your progress over the course of a few weeks or months to see who is “most improved.” When you can engage the whole family in a regular exercise routine, it brings you closer and creates lifelong healthy habits.

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