Unconventional exercise

Exercise trampoline

While I love natural health and nutrition, I tend to really struggle with getting in formal exercise. In the summer when I’m working in the yard and garden, I get quite a workout, but when the weather is bad and I’m shut up inside, I am so unsuccessful at making time to exercise. We have a treadmill, exercise ball, and exercise trampoline. Sadly, I rarely visit any of them.

But a couple of weeks ago while trying to figure out how I could fit in some sort of fitness routine into my day, I was struck with a great idea, and while it may not be ideal or doable for everyone, I’m excited to share it with you anyhow!

Like anyone else, I struggle with feeling like I can never take care of everything I want to in a day. We only have so much time, and having young children in the home certainly adds a few wild cards to the game. My mind is constantly reeling through the day to figure out the best and most efficient ways to multitask so that my day can be as productive as possible. I truly believe that exercise is important, but I have had a really hard time finding the best way to get it done.

treadmill and exercise ball

I tried exercising when my husband would get home from work, and supper would always be late. I’ve tried getting up early, and the baby inevitably wakes up with me. Naptime exercise now gets in the way of homeschooling. It just wasn’t working out, and neither was I.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering in my mind if there was any way for me to multitask while exercising. Could I possibly switch up something I was already doing to allow me to exercise a little bit, even with my children right there with me? Then an idea struck me, and I’ve found out that in our daily routine, I can work these tired muscles a little bit!

How am I doing it?

Well, when I started to evaluate my day, I thought of our read aloud time. Every day for school I spend about 45 minutes reading out loud to our children. I usually do this while sitting in my rocking chair and sipping my coffee. Generally, the littlest of the littles rocks with me and goes to sleep before being laid down for a nap. It’s lovely and quite relaxing, but also quite sedentary. What if I started doing some stretching and strengthening exercises while reading?

And so, our read aloud time has become a time of literal read aloud exercises for me. Now, I’m clearly no fitness expert and you won’t find me training for a marathon with this approach to exercise. But I’ve been really happy with this simple routine! While reading to my children, I do lunges, wall squats, simple Pilates exercises, and anything else I can think of to gently stretch and tone. After four babies, my core can use all the toning I can give it! I have light weights that I also want to start using while reading, but I haven’t added them in yet. The weights had been hiding in the basement somewhere.


Have I noticed any huge results yet? Truthfully, no. But I’ve been pleasantly sore the days following, and for me, that is a victory! My goal is to regain some of the strength and flexibility I had when I was able to invest more time into physical fitness and feel all-around healthier. I think this simple habit will help me do just that.

Sometimes I get a little out of breath while reading and I have to pause for a moment. Sometimes I goof up words because I’m concentrating on holding my tummy in. I can also never keep count of reps while I’m reading. But I’m doing something, and this something is clearly better than the nothing I was doing two weeks ago! I’ll take it.

What do you think? Are you a busy mom that struggles to find time for fitness? How do you do it?

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19 comments on “Unconventional exercise

  1. joanna says:

    sounds like a good solution to me! our dr. actually admitted that he despises exercising, so his solution: doing things the hard way…parking in the space farthest from the store, walking to everything on his farm, making multiple trips outside for various things…i like this idea as well! =)

    • Those are great ideas, too, Joanna! Sometimes I like think think of all the weight-bearing exercise I get when my little one year old wants carried all day, too. I’ll probably keep parking as close to the store as I can get until my littles aren’t so little anymore, though! 😉

  2. Renee Barry says:

    Good for you girl. I get up way before my family and get 45min to an hour of exercise in otherwise I would blow up like the Energizer Bunny! Lol. We have to do what works for us.

  3. Gudrun B says:

    personally, i think exercise is way overrated! with 4 children i doubt you are very sedentary – i only had 3 and never sat still for any length of time 🙂 why not do a 30 min exercise class WITH your children??? as the weather gets warmer jumping rope, playing ball, hop scotch….. a little pilates, the children might like that too 🙂

    • Yes, it’s true I’m not very sedentary with my littles! After four pregnancies, though, I’m feeling my muscles are in need of some strengthening, and I like being able to work on them in this little way.

  4. great idea, Kristen!

  5. Joyce says:

    Good for you, after my daughter, my first, was born I kept trying to figure out a way to get back into my normal routine. Well, that went out the window real quick, I had to change my thinking, and realize that I could at least work my abs when I laid her down at night, and that something is better than nothing.

    I hear a lot of people talk about how they are running up and down stairs all day, chasing after little ones, or carrying them around, and they feel that is enough. Truth of the matter it is not we need to get our heart rate up in order to burn calories for at least a half hour. Also carrying a child around does not offer the same benefits of working out the weights in a controlled manner targeting various muscle groups.

    Mine are older now, so I am back to the routine I left behind 21 years ago. I have been doing this for 9 years now. Just remember something is better than nothing, also have you tried doing any planks? Great for back strength along with the abs, over all great core work out. I don’t think it would be too hard to do them and read.

  6. Dianty says:

    That’s very creative! I like how you made it work for you and your situation. I think so many woman (and men) set themselves up to fail because they try to do what works for someone else. Personally, I either exercise during my lunch (I’m a working mom) or after the kiddos go to bed. I have an elliptical at home for days/weeks I can’t make it to the gym for a full work-out. Once the weather gets nicer here I’ll start jogging outside.

    During the summer I try to include the kids as much as possible. We have races outside and one night a week we go to trail that goes around a small lake and the kids ride their bikes and we walk or jog alongside of them. I’ve done yoga with the kids and love doing that.

    Good-luck with your exercise 🙂

  7. Great idea! I have been struggling with this exact same problem at the moment, when to fit it in! 🙂

    Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link-Up, be sure to check out this week!

  8. Beth says:

    Okay, whoa. Two comments in one day…hope I’m not movin’ too fast for you. But I needed to tell you this idea is brilliant. I’m also partial to strapping the baby to my back and climbing hills…how long do you think I can that up? Til she’s eight? Nine? Hm. Looks like I’ll need a set of hand weights eventually…

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