Family health

15-minute mom workout

We asked our fitness expert Stacy Irvine how busy parents can fit in some physical activity during the day.


Between school drop-offs and pickups, dance classes and hockey practices, it’s hard to imagine any parent has enough time to fit in an effective workout. But guess what? You can do it if you break up the exercises throughout the day (and make them as challenging as possible). All it takes is 15 minutes in total. This full-body workout can be done anywhere around the house — before or after feedings, naps, errands and carpooling, or even when you’re waiting for the kids to get out the door. And the great news is that these moves will help you get in shape, increase flexibility, improve posture and make you feel stronger.

Core work

Straight-Arm Plank

Try this exercise when you’re waiting for the kids to leave for school in the morning, or if you’re watching their soccer game on the sidelines. It only takes two minutes.


1. Focus your body and mind as you hold the plank position as shown. 2. Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breathe deep into your abdominal muscles and expand your rib cage.


Tip: The more oxygen you take in, the more body fat you will burn during the exercise, and the longer you’ll be able to hold the pose.


Hip Bridge

If your kids aren’t co-operating at bedtime, get them to do this one with you. It’ll tire them out.



1. Sit on the floor, with your feet on the ground and your knees bent. 2. Push your hips up toward the ceiling so that your body is parallel to the floor. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle with hands facing your feet. Hold for 10 seconds. 3. Slowly lower down to your start position. Complete 20 reps.


Strengthening & cardio

Bottom Squats

Squats can be done anywhere – while doing the dishes, helping your kids with their homework or talking on the phone.



1. With feet slightly wider than your shoulders, turn toes out 45 degrees. 2. Squat down as low as you can without lifting your heels off the floor. Avoid rolling your knees in. Your goal is to always return to this bottom position. 3. Squeeze your butt and push up to return to start position. Complete 20 reps at a rapid pace. Repeat.

Tip: Squats should be done with a timed hold. Make sure to hold in the bottom position for 10 seconds between sets.


Reverse Lunges


This exercise is perfect for multi-tasking and can be done while you are brushing your teeth or folding laundry.


1. Focus on one leg at a time. Start by standing with your feet together. 2. Step back into a lunge position (as shown) and lower your knee to one inch above the ground. 3. Push up using your back foot to start position, and repeat on the other side. Complete 40 reps.


A version of this article appeared in our September 2013 issue with the headline "15 minutes and you're done," pp. 42-44. 


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This article was originally published on Dec 29, 2013

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