We’ve all heard it before…little things make a big difference when it comes to health/fitness.  We’ve all heard the suggestion of parking farther away to burn a few more calories.  I’ve always believed in this, and often suggest similar ideas to friends. As a busy working mom with a toddler, I’ve had to get even more creative in order to get even the slightest workout in.  Fortunately, these things really can make a difference!

Whether you’ve heard them before, or they’re brand new to you: Give these suggestions a try, and see how easy it is to make minor changes in your daily habits to improve your health.

1. Seriously, park farther away from your destination, and if possible, walk faster to get where you’re going.

2. Maintain good form while you walk around the house or store. We focus on form, hold in our tummies, etc., when we’re power walking for fitness, but often forget about it the rest of the time.  Yet, as we spend more of our time running around with our kids than running around the track, it seems logical that it is especially important to remember it the “rest of the time”.

3. Focus on your form anytime you lift, whether it’s your kids, groceries, or your purse.  You will begin to see and feel small differences in your muscles.

4. And with that…lift your kids more.  Can’t find time to get to the gym to lift weights?  Lift your kids in different ways and different directions.  Use just your arms (focus on biceps); lift higher in front and over your head (deltoids/pectoral muscles); lie on your back and engage your triceps.  Not only will your kids love it, your body will, too!

5. Make the most of your time: Do calf raises while you do dishes.  Try squats and lunges while brushing your teeth.  Balance on one foot while making dinner (great for toning muscles, and just the challenge of balancing burns more calories than standing). 

6. If your child is playing contently, try “laps” around your home.  If you work, do laps around your office.  Movement makes a difference for your total health: physical-mental-emotional.  Exercise, even a little, increases our alertness, and can trigger endorphin release, which improves our mood.

7. If your kids are old enough, play an active game of “Simon Says,” including things like marching, hopping, stretching, balancing, and arm circles.  Your kids will love it, and you’ll fit in a mini workout.  If your kids are younger, do simple movements around the house, like jumping or marching in place…they’ll think it’s hilarious, and may even try to join in!

8. Sit your baby on your tummy while you do mini crunches and butt lifts.  They love it, and it’ll give you a little extra workout.  (Be careful to hold your baby while so they don’t roll off.  And be aware of your back with these -they may not be for everyone).

Try these and see what happens!  If you have others…please share!!

(photo credit here)