Carpool Workouts for the Busy Mama!

On any given day you'll see a busy mom on the go. You know, soccer practice, music lessons, or a community event. You may be the one in the carpool, picking up and dropping off. Regardless, you spend a lot of time in the car and your efforts to get to the gym may go awry. If you're like me, carpools can make it challenging to get your workouts in. You have just enough time to do something but not enough time to get to the gym, change, workout, change again...you know the drill. Before you decide not to exercise, try my carpool workouts. It will take about 15 minutes and you'll have a quarter of your workout done for the day.  

Exercise 1: Belly Breathing. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale through your nose expanding your lower abs (no chest breathing). As you exhale, draw your navel to your spine, squeeze your pelvic floor (stop the pee), and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times. 

Exercise 2: Side-Core Bends. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lean to one side keeping your torso straight and eyes forward. As you return to the starting position, exhale pulling your navel to spine. Repeat on the other side. Repeat the exercise (both sides) a total of 30 times. 

Exercise 3: Drop off Lunges. Pick a place anywhere (field, dance studio, parking lot). Step back and lower yourself down until your knee almost touches the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and then lift back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Repeat the exercise (both sides) a total of 10-15 times.

Exercise 4: Standing calf raises. Stand with your feet about 8-10 inches apart. Lift up on the balls of your feet maintaining your balance between the second and third toes. Hold at the top and then lower until your heels slightly touch the ground. Do as many reps as possible. 

Exercise 5: Car leg side raises. Stand straight with feet slightly hip-width apart. Without leaning to one side, lift the opposite leg and lead with the heel. Hold at the top and lower without touching the ground. Repeat 20 for 20 reps on each side. 

Exercise 6: Butt squeezes. Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 15 times.

Exercise 7: Stretch and go. Sit on a chair or in your car. Cross one leg over the other one (gentlemen's cross). Lean forward slightly until you feel a stretch in your hip/butt region. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.

There you have it. A quick on-the-go workout to get your muscles engages, work isometrically, and get something in before your day ends.  

Let me know how it works for you.

Stay fit on the go Fly Mama!!

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Tweens and Teens Healthy, Part 1

We live in a pressure cooker these days and when it comes to sports and activities for our kids, it's no different. I talk to lots of parents who travel around the country with their kids for tournaments and meets. Some kids are multi-sport athletes so their season never ends. The media doesn't help much either. If a kid shows promise at the tender age of ten, he or she can be labeled the next (you fill in the blank) and all of a sudden all eyes are on this innocent kid to change the face of that particular sport. So much pressure!

We live in such a performance oriented society and as parents it can be easy to get caught up in the grind.  Anytime I attend one of my kid's basketball games, I see the level of effort parents go through to film every game, keep stats, and sign-up for services designed to help their kid get discovered. You see, I'm concerned because I think that when it comes to true athletic success for our kids it's not just about the wins and stats that make an athlete great, it's the not-so-obvious things we can do for our kids to make them healthier for their sport on and offseason. Below are my top 5 ways to keep your tween and/or teen healthy for the long haul.

Tip #1: Help them manage stress. Stress is the number one reason so many folks have workplace-related illnesses. If you think about it, one day our young people will be in that same environment and they'll have even more stress on them than we did. Young people are under a great deal amount of stress and it's constant. They face stressors on a daily basis and social media is the magnifying glass. You have to be intentional about helping your kids manage stress. Help them discern how stress manifests itself. Insomnia, anxiety, and sports injuries can be an indicator of high stress levels. Teach them about deep breathing exercises along with learning how to shut down way before bedtime. Talk to them about the importance of having quiet time to get settled and recharge, without their phones. It can be tough for us to do this as parents but our kids look to us to set an example so we owe it to them to help them get a handle on stress early in their lives.

Tip #2: Teach them the importance of sleep. There was a time when Starbucks Coffee was for grown-ups and now it's not uncommon to see teenagers loading up on energy drinks to stay alert in order to knock-out their deadline. The problem with caffeine is that it's addictive and over time, can wreak havoc on sleep patterns. Too much caffeine is known to disrupt deep sleep and without a good 9-10 hours (yes, your tweens and teens are toddlers again), their cognitive function is impaired, they get sick often, and they're even moodier (imagine that?). If your kid is stressed out (see tip #1), sleep is affected so keep an eye out for how these two areas overlap.  

The first step in teaching your kids about the importance of sleep is to model it yourself. Get in the habit of doing things that tell the kids that it's time to wind down. Designate a check-in spot for cellphones, turn off all televisions by 9 PM, talk with family, or get out a good book. Get your kids in the habit early of shutting things down and they will learn to value their quiet time and eventually, it will become a habit for them.

In my next post I'll discuss my remaining tips on how to keep your tweens and teens healthy for life. The great thing about these tips is that once they become a habit, your kid will have an arsenal of tools to help them in their sport and in life.