A Dietitian’s Guide: Quick Workout Routines for Busy Moms

Motherhood is tough; some days laundry becomes your physical activity and leftover crackers your lunch. Moms, I know it’s hard to balance work and family, and I know it’s a struggle to find “me time” in our attempt to “do it all.” It’s time to move your own well-being up the priority list and find some time to take care of you. The secret may be finding a few spare moments.

While long bouts of exercise are great when time allows, going for a 60-minute run may not be a practical solution on any given day. The key to health is consistency, even if that means a few shorter bursts of activity each day. As a mom, registered dietitian, fitness instructor and personal trainer, I often recommend that moms aim for three 10-minute bursts of exercise daily – thinking about those short periods of time they can squeeze it in, such as before the kiddos wake up in the morning, while they watch a cartoon or during their afternoon nap.

Moms, you’re worth it! Taking care of you is important. Good news – we’ve got you covered with four 10-minute workouts perfect for busy moms. Break it up and space it out. Each workout focuses on a different aspect of fitness – cardio, strength, flexibility or balance – and is paired with a nutritious post-workout snack.

10-Minutes to a Stronger You

Start with the top of your head and work your way down, focusing on muscle groups from your head to your toes.

  • Pushups – put your knees on the ground and work on your form, once you’re comfortable you can do them with your knees up (see how many you can start with and then add 1-2 more each week focusing on progress, not a set number)
  • Bicep curls – with a free weight or can of soup; 3 sets of 10-12 is a good number to shoot for
  • Tricep dips – off the edge of a chair (see how many you can start with and then add 1-2 more each week focusing on progress not a set number)
  • Plank and knee lifts – do each for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Squats – lower your body to sit on a chair, pushing your hips back while slowly shifting your weight to your heels, then stand (see how many you can get in 1 minute)
  • Hamstring curls – hold edge of desk, soften standing leg and bend working leg towards your bottom
  • Butt kickers – jog in place, focusing on kicking your bottom each step
  • Calf raises – tip toe with your toes positioned inward, forward or outward (you can even do this while brushing your teeth); 2 minutes is a burner. Stretch after you complete

Dare to pair post-workout fuel: Cottage cheese, balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes and basil

10-Minutes Calming De-Stress and Stretch

Find a video for inspiration or create your own flexibility routine utilizing stretching and yoga poses

  • Downward-facing dog
  • Yogi squat
  • Three-legged dog
  • Upward-facing dog
  • Happy baby
  • Cat-cow
  • Warrior I and warrior II
  • Sun salutation
  • Tree

Dare to pair post-workout fuel: Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of chia seeds

10-Minute “No Equipment Needed” High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Do each activity for 30 seconds, with 15 seconds of rest between, and repeat the circuit up to 3 times as you get stronger. Keep in mind it should be hard but not “killing you.”

  • Jumping squats (squat, jump with hands in the air)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees (stand, squat, pushup, back to standing)
  • Butt kickers
  • High knees (running in place)
  • Step-ups onto bench (each leg 30 seconds or alternating for 1 minute)

Dare to pair post-workout fuel: Small glass of milk (white or chocolate), a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter

10-Minutes to Balance Is Key

  • Tree pose
  • Chair pose
  • Eagle pose
  • One-legged prayer pose (spend 30 seconds to a minute on each side)
  • Half moon pose (spend a minute or so on each side)
  • Side plank pose (spend a minute or so on each side)
  • Dancer pose (spend a minute or so on each side)

Dare to pair post-workout fuel: Pepper jack cheese with whole wheat crackers and sliced bell peppers

A little bit of exercise and good nutrition offers benefits for a lifetime — for mother and child. Moms are role models, and what moms do, our kids do too. Make some time to find balance in your life. Discover fun activities for the whole family and explore creative ways to add a little nutrition in the kitchen with a few family favorites.

By Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE

Jessica Crandall is the General Manager at Denver Wellness and Nutrition Center-Sodexo where she manages a team of dietitians who focus on fulfilling the diverse nutritional needs of the community. She also visits numerous doctors’ offices providing them with nutritional services as well as hospital based outpatient programs assisting them in program development for nutritional counseling services. She is passionate about providing onsite wellness to worksite wellness and believes is helping consumers navigate the nutritional maze towards a healthier life in an atmosphere that is comfortable for them and conductive to learning- no matter the setting.

As a Registered Dietitian, Jessica’s passion lies in nutritional counseling in weight management, sports nutrition, bariatric education, diabetes prevention and management, cardiac diet modification, family meal times and she also works with children with special nutritional needs. On top of all of this Jessica is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and an AAFA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. She has been a media spokesperson since 2010 and is frequently asked to speak for a variety of media outlets including segments on Fox News and Channel 9 NBC News. She has been quoted in numerous media outlets including WebMD, Prevention, Shape, Weight Watchers, Men's Fitness, Readers Digest, and Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazines and is recognized by many as an expert resource regarding nutrition and health for many media outlets.           

Jessica’s accolades include being named Colorado Dietitian of the Year which lead to her serving as Colorado Dietetic President Elect in 2009 and President of Colorado Dietetics Association in 2010. She is a strong supporter of public policy for dietitians and their professional development.

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