As a busy mom, your time is not your own. Life with kids can get hectic, making the idea of regular trips to the gym a sad joke. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on exercise.
There are plenty of home exercise options that will allow you to get in a body changing workout quickly, quietly and efficiently right in your lounge room. In this article we’ve rounded up the top 7 pieces of home exercise equipment that every mom needs to get in a kid friendly workout.
A lot of people don’t appreciate the fitness value of the humble skipping rope. Yet, this simple piece of equipment – which you can pick up for about ten bucks – will burn close to a thousand calories over the course of an hour. In the process, it will get your cardiovascular system working optimally, while also strengthening your forearms and shoulders.
Don’t think that you’re too uncoordinated to skip, either. The most basic jump is all you need and, like anything, the more you do it, the better you will get.
Resistance bands are an ideal piece of equipment to have at home. They are extremely portable, very convenient and relatively cost effective. Resistance bands are also safe, allowing you to get a challenging resistance workout without having to contend with bulky weights.
Resistance bands can be purchased as full loop bands or as bands with handles. Both varieties will provide you with the ability to work your entire body, the bands with handles tend to be more versatile. You can purchase a resistance band set that ranges between 2 and 30 pounds and with a range of adjustable handles for less than thirty dollars.
Here are 7 tips to ensure that you, and your children, remain safe, when you’re working out with resistance bands:
- Do not use Resistance Bands if you have a latex allergy
- Resistance Bands are not toys; consult a medical professional before letting your children to use them
- Make sure the band is rigidly attached to a solid object before using
- Do not overstretch bands to more than 3 times their original length
- Keep bands away from sharp objects
- Store your Resistance Bands out of direct sunlight
- Perform all of your exercises in a slow and controlled manner
A Compact Treadmill
A treadmill will provide you with the ability to perform either long, slow cardio on a low impact running bed as well as a range of high intensity training type workouts on the treadmill.
Home treadmills come in a range of price bands. Under $500 you are likely to get a frame that is quite wobbly, along with a noisy belt and not much in the way of workout programs. Between $500 and $1000, you can get a decent amount of workout programs, an automated incline and a quality LCD monitor.
Here’s what to look out for when shopping for a compact treadmill for your home gym:
- Storage – Treadmills take up some size, which is something that you may don’t have a lot of. Look for a treadmill that will fold up so that the upright frame folds down on on the running bed. This will allow it slide away for convenient storage. You need to make sure, however, that the foldability of the unit does not compromise its rigidity. Check online reviews or, if buying from a bricks and mortar retailer, take it for a test drive.
- Adjustable Incline – Being able to adjust the incline of the treadmill will allow you to greatly increase the intensity of the exercise. But you don’t want to interrupt your workout to do so. That’s why you want an auto incline feature.
- Sturdiness – The treadmill should be constructed of either steel or aluminum. Non slip pads on the base of the feet will prevent the treadmill from sliding around. Look for a treadmill that provides you with a max user weight that is 50 pounds more than your weight.
- Readout – Your Climber should have a display monitor that provides you with the training feedback you need to keep on track of your workout. These should increase speed, distance, calories burned, steps taken, stride length. An LED display will provide the clearest readout.
- Power – The power potential of your treadmill will determine its usefulness for you. You do not want anything under 3.0 CHP (Continuous horsepower).
A Suspension Trainer
Suspension Training has gained a surge in popularity due to its compact nature, portability and ability to make bodyweight exercises far more challenging. Introduced to the market by former Navy Seal Randy Hettrick in 2005, a suspension trainer consists of a pair of heavy duty webbed straps with handle grips on their ends. The straps are suspended from an anchor and the exerciser is able to perform in excess of 300 exercises against the force of gravity.
The anchor points of a suspension trainer may be hooked over a ceiling beam or an anchor that has been inserted in the ceiling. But that doesn’t mean you have to upset the décor of your lounge. Most suspension trainers come with a door anchor system. The majority of them are guaranteed not to leave any marks on the door surrounds.
Here’s what you need to look out for when buying a suspension trainer:
- Strap stability – the straps are what keep your body from falling prey to the law of gravity, so you need to be sure that they will hold up under pressure. You will want them to be military grade webbing. They should have been tested to withstand at least 400 pounds of body weight.
- Handle Grips – you want the grips to be sweat resistant and moisture wicking. They should also be anatomically designed for a secure grip and have a soft surface area.
- Door Anchor – check online reviews to make sure that the door anchor doesn’t leave any marks around the doorway.
- Retailer Support – the suspension trainer is still a relatively new training system so there’s a learning curve involved. You should expect to get a DVD training program, and instruction guide.
A Fitness Ball is a fantastic, but often under appreciated piece of training equipment. It will offer you a core centric workout that focuses on instability. As a bonus it can be used as a piece of furniture when you’re not in training mode.
Most fitness balls are constructed from soft elastic material and filled with air. Fitness balls differ in size. You should select your ball based on how tall you are. Using a ball that is either too large or too small will out your body in the wrong alignment.
A secondary consideration when choosing your fitness ball is your bodyweight. If your Body Mass Index is more than 25, then you should seriously consider using the next ball up in size.
Personal comfort is yet another consideration. If, after following the height chart and taking your BMI into account, you still feel more comfortable with a slightly smaller or larger ball, then that is the one that you should be using.
An Abdominal Wheel is a small and simple device that consists of a mini wheel that has handles for gripping attached. Yet, it is one of the most effective prices of equipment you can use to target your entire core area.
You can purchase all manner of variations of the ab wheel. Some provide you with double wheels or extra resistance on the pulling back phase of the exercise.
A number of Ab Wheel models now feature a foot strap. This is a handy, but by no means necessary addition. More expensive models may include a spring recoil device, which is very helpful for people who have trouble maintaining a neutral spine position when using the exercise wheel.
It should be kept in mind, however, that the more costly types of ab wheel will not produce greater results than a cheaper model.
Next to the skipping rope, the ab wheel is the most lightweight and portable piece of home exercise equipment.
A foam roller is an excellent way to give yourself a deep tissue massage after your workout. It allows you to target your trigger points and those niggly areas of pain that may crop up during your workout. It is also a very effective way to speed up your post exercise recovery.
A basic foam roller consists of a hardened foam cylinder that is about three feet long. You place the roller between your body and a solid object, usually the floor or the wall. Specialized trigger point rollers consist of a range of different cylinder surfaces. These may consist of a number of bumps and sharp protrusions that are designed to allow you to get into the deep tissue muscle of a trigger point.
You can also perform deep tissue massage with the aid of a small ball, about the size of a tennis ball.