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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Alissa King

Exercising While Working from Home, with Kids Around

In the past fifteen months, I’ve gradually been able to focus my brain and my body on tasks that once occupied a lot of my waking hours pre-baby: work, cooking, cleaning, walking, plus making room for some hobbies and volunteering. I also began to figure out a work, childcare, and regular-life schedule that works for me. One thing that I couldn’t figure out, however, was where to fit exercise in my routine.

I usually work for a chunk of time in the early morning, then do some childcare, and then work all afternoon. By 5 pm I’m too tired to exercise, and I also just want to be with my family. The only other option would be to exercise in the late morning, while I’m with my son, since I work in the early morning. But I really value that time, and I just don’t want to devote it to exercise.

I’m not a great sleeper, though, and no exercise makes sleep much harder for me. I’ve been a consistent exerciser for years, and I simply need some movement to stay healthy and rested.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has inspired many people to try to new exercise routines, and I recently decided to test a new routine.

Instead of spending 30 minutes exercising in one go, I’m now breaking down my exercise into 4-minute chunks. If I can exercise in 4-minute shifts, 7 times a day, then I’ve completed almost 30 minutes of exercise.

AND IT’S WORKING! For the first time since ending maternity leave, I feel like I really am getting back in shape and feeling less lethargic. I know this routine would not work for some people, but I’ve found that as a work-from-home mom, with limited time and limited energy, spreading my exercise throughout the day has meant that I am much more likely to actually get my heart rate up on a consistent basis. I also suspect that this routine might be a good one for anyone who struggles to motivate themselves to work out or who starts feeling fidgety and achy after too much time sitting. (I’m also a big fan of standing while working – more on that in later posts).

This routine also has the benefit of preventing me from breaking into a total sweat when I workout, meaning that I can hop on video call without showering after a 4-minute workout.

Here are some of the 4-minute routines I’ve tested. I’ve been using a small kettlebell or else just exercising with body weight. I’m a lazy and cheap exerciser – if it has too much equipment, I won’t do it!

  1. 10 pushups

  2. 20 squats or plies

  3. 10 single-leg deadlift with or without weight

  4. Repeat until 4 minutes elapse

  1. 1 minute of high-knees (in place)

  2. 1 minute of mountain climbers

  3. 1 minute of butt-kicks (in place)

  4. 1 minute of mountain climbers

  1. kettlebell swings until I get tired

  2. presses until I get tired, on both sides

  3. kettlebell deadlifts, until I get tired

  4. Repeat until 4 minutes elapse

  1. 20 lunges on each side

  2. 10 single-leg deadlifts on each side, with or without weight

  3. 10 leg lifts

  4. Repeat until 4 minutes elapse

So many kinds of exercise work for this: sprints if you have access to a long hallway or yard, relevés, planks, you get the point. There are much better sites than this one for specific exercise ideas.*

I’d also like to add that I exercise to stay fit, not to be an athlete or lose weight or get “super ripped.” If those are your goals, this routine probably won’t work for you. This routine is serving my personal goals to increase my daily energy, sleep well, and stay happy.

I hope this tip helps inspire and motivate others who struggle to fit exercise into their WFH routines!

*Yes, I did use that sentence as an excuse to link to James Whiteside’s Instagram.

Is this you at 5 pm?

#exercise #motherhood #workfromhome #worklifebalance

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