Get In Shape and Feel Better!

Exercise shouldn’t be boring.  It should be something that keeps you moving, works your muscles, pumps your heart rate up, and gets you a little sweaty.  Unfortunately, we tend to get ourselves in a rut doing the same ol’ thing day after day.  Do you find yourself doing that?  I do and I HATE dreading a good workout!  Why?

Because I feel so good after doing it!

 So here’s what I’ve decided to do:  I’m making a list.  Everything that I like to do to kick up my heart rate and work up a sweat is going on it and then I’m going to switch things up.  A lot.  No more “do this on Monday” or “run 3.5 miles every day”.  I think that by loosening up on the regiment and listening to my body, I’ll end up looking forward to my daily workout instead of stressing about what I really SHOULD be doing and feeling guilty.  What about you?  Are you ready to make your list?

Long Distance Runner
Image courtesy of tobyamidornutrition.com

Here are my favorite ways to get active:

  • Run.  I love to get out there and see the world (okay, neighborhood) and push myself with how far I can go.  Unfortunately, weak knees have been affecting how much I can do this and now that we homeschool, I have a smaller window to run on my own since the kids are with me much more.  And Thing #2’s little legs just can’t keep up for a family run yet.
  • Kettle bells.  My husband turned me on to the kettle bell routine.  The problem was that I got really bored doing the same old swing exercise for half an hour.  When I found a routine on womenshealthmag.com especially for women, I fell in love with kettle bells all over again!  Interested?  Scroll down to see the exercises.
  • Yoga.  The P90X yoga video is a great challenge and I’ve yet to have completed the whole 90 minutes!  Even doing 30 minutes of yoga can work your muscles and give you a fantastic workout.
  • Basic 15 Minute Weekly Routine.  These are filled with crunches, Russian Twists, lunges, jumping jacks, etc.  Although there’s a different workout for each day of the week, I don’t do these every day.  (It would get too monotonous!)  I use these as an easy, quick workout when I’m crunched for time.  Scroll down to see the routine.
  • Zumba.  This is one I try to do when I’m completely alone.  Although I love to dance, I’m a little self conscious doing this in front of my guys.  If you don’t want to splurge for the DVD set, there are lots of great videos on youtube like this one.
  • Family Walks.  This is a great way to get everyone out and active.  When the boys opt to ride their bikes or scooters, its a much faster pace for us and is a fun way to get some exercise.
  • Bike Rides.  This is pretty similar to the one above.  We try to all get out and ride around the neighborhood.  I feel that exercising outside is more invigorating than always staying indoors.
  • Yard Work.  There’s nothing like crossing off two chores with one activity!  If I’ve got to do some major yard work or gardening, I don’t stress about getting in an additional exercise.
  • Dancing.  Fun and a great cardio workout!
  • Sex.  Okay, so I’m totally blushing while I write this but sex can be a fantastic way to get some exercise!  ‘Nuff said.
  • VersaClimber.  This is a new one for me.  I love it as much as I hate it.  (Hate doing the work but love the results!)  It’s a full-body workout that uses a climbing motion.  Fly Guy bought a used one to help with his race training but many gyms have one too.  Try it out next time you’re at the gym, it’s one of the best cardio workouts I’ve ever done.

Instead of feeling chained to one or two exercises that can get old really fast, I just go with what I feel more like doing each day.  If I’m feeling like a power workout, I go for the P90X, kettle bells, VersaClimber, or run.  If I want to get the kids involved, we head outside for a ride, walk or even yard work.  If I’m crunched for time, I’ll go to my little 15 Minute Routine and call it good for the day.  Since I’m trying to cut out stress this year, I’m determined not to feel guilty.  If I need a day off, that’s just fine.  I’m mainly trying to make these workouts part of a healthy lifestyle instead of some drudgery I stress about getting done every day.

15 Minute Weekly Workout

Weekly Workout Plan  –  do as little or as much as you can on these.  On the days with lots of jumping jacks, I split them into more manageable groups of 50 and do them at the beginning, middle, and/or end.  If you’re not sure what some of the exercises are, just google them and you should be able to figure them out pretty easily.  Each workout should only take you between 10-20 minutes.

Kettle Bells for Women

Unfortunately, when I went to find the link for the kettle bell routine that I love on Women’s Health Mag, I saw that the article was no longer available.  They do, however, still have each kettle bell move listed so I’ll compile them all here for you:  P.S.  I like to use a 15lb kettle bell for these exercises.  Use smaller or heavier to tailor to your needs!

Move 01

Around-the-Body Pass

Back
1009-body-pass.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your torso and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Release the kettlebell into your right hand and move both arms behind your back. Grab the bell with your left hand and bring it back to the front (completing a full circle around your body). That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch directions and repeat without stopping to rest.
Quick tip: Keep your core engaged and avoid moving your hips throughout the entire move.

Move 01

Bent Row

Back
1009-bent-row.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Take the kettlebell in your right hand, squat slightly, and bend forward from the hips until your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Let the kettlebell hang at arm’s length . Keep your torso still as you pull the kettlebell to the side of your chest, elbow close to your side . Lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 12, then repeat on the other side.
Move 01

Dead Lift

Back
1009-dead-lift.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Squat down and grab the handle with both hands, keeping your back flat . Brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and slowly push down into your heels as you stand up, keeping your arms extended. That’s one rep; do 10 to 12.
Move 01

Figure 8

Back
1009-figure-8.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, knees bent into a quarter-squat position, back straight, and chest up. Hold the kettlebell behind your left leg with one arm on each side of your leg . Grab the bell with your left hand and swing it in front of your left leg, between your legs, and behind your right leg . Grab it with your right hand and swing it in front of your right leg, between your legs, then behind your left leg. That’s one rep. Continue for 10 reps.
Quick Tip: The movement should be slow and controlled but fluid.
Move 01

Half Get-Up

Back
1009-half-get-up.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Lie faceup on the floor, legs straight, holding the kettlebell in your right hand straight above your shoulder . Bend your left knee, place your foot on the floor, and prop yourself up on your left arm. Keep the weight directly in line with your shoulder and sit up until your back is straight . Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do five, then repeat on the other side.
Move 01

Swing

Back
1009-swing.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Squat down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Immediately stand and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height . As the kettlebell begins to arc back down, bend your knees and squat, swinging the kettlebell between your legs . That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20.
Quick Tip: If you have any back problems, do this move without using a weight.
Move 01

Front Squat

Back
1009-front-squat.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest, elbows bent and close to your body . Keeping your back straight and chest up, push your hips back and bend your knees until they form 90-degree angles . Press down into your heels and return to standing. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 15.
Quick Tip: Keep your knees over (not in front of) your toes at the bottom position of the squat.
Move 01

Windmill

Back
1009-windmill.jpg

Photograph by Beth Bischoff
Next
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, weight in your left hand. Raise it next to your left shoulder, then press it overhead . Rotate your chest to the left and look up at the kettlebell as you try to touch your right hand to your right foot . Pause, then return to start, keeping your left arm extended. Do five to 10 reps before lowering the weight, then repeat on the other side.
Quick Tip: Practice without the weight until you nail the form.
If you enjoy these kettle bell exercises, check out womenshealthmag.com for even more great ones!

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