Exercise is at Hand: How to Exercise While Busy at Home

Published on: November 11, 2021

Has exercise felt out of your reach since becoming a parent or since this pandemic began? Exercise specialist Ingrid helps you bring exercise into your daily routine with some suggestions and ideas.

By Ingrid Hanifen

We all know that exercise is important, not just for our physical health, but also for our mental health and wellbeing. So, what can we do when we need to spend more time indoors, but we aren’t able to go to the gym, or if we have kids at home needing our attention? At times like these, we need exercise more than ever, but how can we accomplish it? Creativity is essential; you can still get an excellent workout in a short amount of time and a limited amount of space!

I find the most difficult part of exercising is fitting it into our daily schedule; if it’s not planned and accounted for, it often doesn’t happen. Many of us are on our phones throughout the day, so a great way to make sure we exercise is to add it to our daily calendar apps. The notification is often enough to motivate us to get up and get going. Find a time that would work best for you; maybe it’s your child’s nap time or early morning before everyone is awake. Whatever time you choose, try to make it part of your day-to-day ritual so it becomes ingrained in your routine. 

People often feel like if they can’t find 30–60 minutes to exercise, then it’s not worth it, but finding just a little bit of time is better than nothing. If 30 or 60 minutes does not seem doable, try scheduling two or three 10-minute blocks of time to get in some exercise. 

There are lots of different options and choices, and everyone is sure to find something that they enjoy. For this article, I’m only going to focus on free ways to exercise, so that money does not deter anyone from being able to participate. 

First off, if you live in an apartment, try walking the stairs. It’s a major cardiovascular workout and a major calorie-burning activity. All you need is a pair of athletic shoes and some water. 

If stair climbing isn’t your thing, how about a yoga class done from the comfort of your own home? There are many free yoga classes available on YouTube that require minimal equipment; many of the instructors offer alternative pieces of equipment that most people can find around their home. 

Another great option on YouTube is the Body Coach. He is an excellent trainer with many free classes available for all different fitness levels and ages (he even has workouts for kids!). 

If YouTube videos aren’t for you, check out an online workout website called Fitness Blender (FitnessBlender.com). They offer a variety of classes, from HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to stretching, and everything in between! Many of the classes offered are free, and the search and filter feature on the website enables you to find classes that fit your equipment and time limits. You can also filter classes by the level of ability they target. 

A screen-free exercise routine

If you’re tired of screens and you don’t have a staircase in your building to climb, all you need is your shoes, a mat (or large towel), a chair/couch/coffee table, and a timer. Here is a 20-minute routine that anyone can do, and if 20 minutes is too much time to set aside at once, do the first circuit and save the second for later in the day when you can spare ten minutes.  

The routine consists of two circuits of four exercises performed for 50 seconds each, with a one-minute break after each round. Begin with a warm-up of two minutes walking in place, and cool down with a short stretching routine of your choice. 

Circuit 1: 
  1. High knees, steps, or running for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  2. Push-ups on toes or knees for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  3. Jumping jacks for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  4. Wall sit for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  5. Rest for 1 minute and repeat the circuit one more time  
Circuit 2: 
  1. Plank on hands for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  2. Squat for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  3. Tricep dips from a stable chair, couch, or coffee table for 50 seconds; 10-second rest
  4. Side plank for 25 seconds on each side; 10-second rest
  5. Rest for 1 minute and repeat the circuit one more time

Try and fit this routine into your schedule 3–4 times a week, and if you can, get outside and walk around some of the parks that are open, or walk to the nearby grocery store or shops instead of taking a taxi or driving. Every little bit helps! Exercise is still an option, and finding new ways to exercise during this pandemic is vital to our health and mental well-being as parents and caregivers. Make yourself and your health a priority—it’s important.  

Photos from Canva.

About the Author

Ingrid Hanifen BSN, RN, CPT has a background in nursing and exercise science. She is a Gentle Sleep expert and personal trainer with a specialization in pregnancy and postpartum exercise. She currently lives in Bangkok with her husband and two boys. Please get in touch at Ingrid@BestRestFamilies.com for more information. 

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.