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Exercise Tips for Busy Parents

First, only YOU know if you are happy with your level of fitness and body size. Don't worry too much about the scale... Your level of fitness is what counts.

I have a 9 month old baby and know how hard it can be to find time to exercise. I'm not working full time right now, but I'll offer some of my solutions and you can adapt them to fit your life.

Work on building muscle by doing training with free weights. Muscle burns more calories so it's easier to lose/maintain your weight, and a toned body looks better than a flabby one even if you're not overweight. You can buy a set of free weights (start wit 3,5,and 8 pound dumbbells) for under $20. I also recommend buying any of Joyce Vedral's books (her latest is called "Definition" I think)-- she will teach you how to use free weights at home.

Particularly - working with weights you can do your workout in small segments of 5 or 10 min. each depending on your schedule and your kids. For instance this morning I did my biceps, triceps, and shoulders in 5-10 min. while Faith played with blocks. Then she wanted up. Now she is taking a nap so I will do 5 min. of abdominal work, etc.

Many gyms have child care which is open while aerobics is being taught. For no extra charge (than the gym membership) someone else takes care of the kids while you work out, either doing aerobics or working with weights.

Play with your kids, take walks with them and your husband. If you run as much as they do I guarantee you'll get an aerobic workout!

If you ever have time to watch TV, do it with your weights in hand and get a workout, or do aerobic movement like a basic side step while watching.

If you commute by car you can do isometric exercises like butt squeezes, leg extensions (if you have cruise control else only the left leg gets a workout!).

If you have a semiprivate office space you can do isometrics or have a set of 3-lb weights and do some exercise as a short break every hour or so.

It may not seem like you are doing "much" when it is in 5 or 10 min. increments or if you're "just" playing in the yard but it really adds up - recent research shows that 3 10-min. segments a day may actually be BETTER than 30 min. a day of exercise.

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