As a mom to a 5-year-old and 2-year-old twins, who also works full time, it’s definitely hard to find time to work out. Most people — moms like myself, busy office workers, you name it — just can’t spend hours at the gym. Well, good news: it’s not necessary to log tons of hours working out. Studies have shown it’s the intensity that’s more important than the duration, which means when you have a moment to move, make sure it counts. Now, when the twins are napping or entertaining themselves, I squeeze in an effective, short workout. Here are five ways you can tune up your body in just five minutes.
Workout 1: Tabata drills are a great way to burn maximum calories in minimal time. This high-intensity interval style of training is all the rage since it only takes four minutes to perform. For 20 seconds you go all out, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this eight times for a total of four minutes. I like to add a 30-second warmup and a 30-second cool down on either end.
Start with some marching in place. After 30 seconds, start a 20-second round of high knees going as fast as you can. Stop and rest for 10 seconds then start a round of skaters (jumping side to side as you stay low and tap the opposite foot behind the front leg and opposite hand towards the front foot). Rest again for 10 seconds, then repeat three more times. Finish with a cool down, marching in place again for 30 seconds. Total workout time is only five minutes and you’ll feel your heart rate is elevated, your legs and arms are fatigued, and you’ve built up a good sweat.
Workout 2: Therabands are an excellent way to tone up your body because there is constant tension on the band throughout the exercises. Therabands are also easy to store and tote. There’s no excuse not to grab a band and do five minutes of quick toning. Store one under your couch and perform a five-minute tune-up as you watch your favorite television program.
For a quick, effective toning workout with a theraband, sit upright with your legs out in front of you. Wrap the band around your feet and hold an end in each hand. Pull your arms straight back by your sides then release; repeat 15 times. Turn your palms down then pull your elbows up and back for 15 repetitions. Next, flip your palms upright and perform 15 biceps curls. Turn your palms back and pulse the band behind you with your arms straight and by your sides. Repeat this circuit through two more times.
Workout 3: Yoga is one of my personal favorites. In yoga you are holding yourself in positions and engaging your muscles and core throughout the entire practice. Yoga is portable and easy to do anywhere and anytime.
Start standing at the front of a yoga mat or towel. Inhale, lift your arms up overhead and press your palms, exhale, swan dive forward over your feet into a forward bend. Inhale, extend your legs back into a plank position, then exhale and lower into a narrow arm triceps push-up. On your next inhalation, lift your chest and straighten your arms, coming into an upward-facing dog before exhaling back into a downward-facing dog. After five breaths in downward-facing dog, step or hop forward to the front of the mat and reverse the swan dive up to stand. Repeat this sun salutation five times.
Workout 4: Studies show that adding high-intensity intervals to your cardio routine enables you to keep your heart rate up longer after your workout. Cardio intervals are great for boosting your metabolism and building endurance. You can log fewer hours doing cardio when you add high-intensity intervals to your workout.
On a treadmill or outdoors, walk or jog at a moderate pace for 30 seconds then break into a fast walk or run for 30 seconds. Repeat four more times. When you go fast, try and push yourself as much as you can, then use your 30 seconds for recovery.
Workout 5: Core strength is important for everything you do in life, and having a strong center helps you work out better. Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen your core and burn major calories in little time.
Start lying on your back with your knees in a tabletop position. Lift your head and neck up and lengthen your arms forward. Start pumping your arms vigorously up and down five times on an inhalation and five times on an exhalation for 100 pumps. Next, extend your arms and legs long on the floor and roll up slowly, then extend forward over your legs. Roll back down using your abs to control the descent. Repeat five more times. Hug your knees to your chest and rock forward and back on your spine in a little ball-shaped position. When you roll like a ball, make sure your head and feet don’t touch the floor. Come up to hands and knees then extend your legs straight back behind you to come in to a plank pose. Work up to a one-minute hold in plank. You will love this five-minute core-building workout.