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No Gym Required

No Gym Required

By Jennifer Cohen

My whole philosophy of No Gym Required is a way of fitting in fitness anywhere, anytime, no excuses. The most common issue I hear from Moms is that they have no time to take care of themselves, so here are some ways that any Mom can stay active and healthy.

One of the best things you can do for your body is to walk and walking is easiest way to fit cardio into your daily schedule. My advice is to start using walks for all your quick trips as an alternative to packing up the kids and getting in the car. As you know, walking makes for great social time for you and other moms, especially mothers of small children who need to get out of the house. You can also chart your progress on these walks by counting steps taken, calories burned and your working heart rate with a heart rate monitor. I recommend using Polar for its ease of use and it straps right on to your wrist. You can even use it to track your progress throughout the day and make everything from picking up groceries to playing with your kids count towards your workout.

Staying hydrated is also important. During your crazy day, always carry a water bottle, and make time to drink water BEFORE you feel thirsty. Did you know if you drink up to 9 cups of water throughout the day that it will stabilize your moods and increase your energy levels? It’s easy to figure out how much water you should be drinking each day. Simply divide your weight in pounds in half, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink. So if you weigh 140 pounds, that’s 70 ounces of water, or about 9 cups.

At snack time, avoid cleaning up your kid’s plate! I know their food looks oh so yummy, but you can do better. Pack a Muscle Milk Latte Lite in your bag. It’ll satiate your hunger until your next meal, it gives you that sweet caffeine boost you crave, and its loaded with the nutrients you need. And speaking of snacks, they are the bridge to staying healthy and becoming a more efficient eater. Snacking allows you to eat smaller meals and keeps a food diary of what you need; spreading out your food intake over the course of the day allows your body to better process what you’re eating.

Great Exercise Moves

When you take the kids to the park, put your leg up on the swing for hip-raises. The instability of the swing makes you use your core. Lay on the ground, put your heels on top of the swing, and using your abs for stability raise your hips off the ground and lower them back down; the instability of the swing gives you more of a workout. This is a great move to tone and tighten your butt!

You can also do a great split lunge using a swing. Place your back foot on the swing with weight being on front leg. With the front leg move towards the ground, making sure your knee is inline with your toe. Try to get a low as you can and remember that the swing will have instability so that you work on balance and core here too.

At soccer practice, watch the action by jogging back and forth as the team moves along the field. If you’re more of a baseball or football family, try bleacher steps. Stand on the bleachers. Keep one leg on the bleachers, and step downward with the other. Stand back on the bleacher, and switch legs. You can also walk up to the top of the bleachers and come back down, repeating a few times. The idea is to keep yourself active during those times.

Another great way to fit in fitness time is to share what you used to love to do with your kids and be an active family. Did you used to take tennis lessons, dance, or ride your bike every day? Try that activity with your child and they may love it as much as you did. Let me know how it goes – tweet me @theRealJenCohen and comment on www.Facebook.com/theRealJenniferCohen.

Jennifer Cohen is a nationally recognized fitness expert who created the No Gym Required brand. Her methods have been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN and more. She currently is a national spokesperson for Weight Watchers and writes a weekly column on Forbes.com.