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Friday 13 March 2015

Keep Your Heart Healthy: The Children Workout ... but without children.

Now when I was asked by My Voucher Codes to write down a workout I do to keep my heart healthy, I immediately thought of a run. Running is one of my favourite things; it gets me a long way away from the housework and it means I can eat the chocolate I bought to make crispy cakes with, without feeling too guilty. 

However, I re-read the information and realised it was supposed to be 10 minutes INSIDE the house. Running wouldn’t work. My house is too small. You’d have to lap the living room 400 times to do a mile.

Running is a no-no then, but there are plenty of things that I do on a daily basis that could probably be counted as exercise. You wouldn’t find any of these in a gym class and you probably wouldn’t get #IveDoneMyGallopingWorkout trending on twitter, nevertheless these are all things, easy to do inside that you may already do on a daily basis. 

The benefit now is that you can COUNT them as exercise and put them towards your wine points. Anything that gets your heart rate raised and which means you have to concentrate on form definitely counts.    

Now I’m not a gym guru. I don’t know the difference between a kettle bell … and well, the kettle. But I DO know that my every day life has a lot of opportunities to raise my heart rate - in a good way! - and get some short exercises in, in between the school run, the dentist appointment and the dash BACK to school to drop off the PE kit which we forgot that morning. The homework? The cat ate it.

These are 5 simple exercises that can be done on a daily basis.

Exercise: The Galloping Walk to School. (Warm Up)
Motivation: Your Child Won’t Walk to School And You’re Trying to Encourage Them.

Scenario: You have 15 minutes to walk your child to school after which you’ll The Really Bad Traffic On The M1 and be late for work. The only way to make your child to hurry is to get them to gallop with you. Galloping is fun. Everyone likes a good gallop. 

How To: 
  • You’ll need a space at least 8 feet wide - I use my living room. You’re going to gallop across the room. 
  • The first gallop is with high knees: Take small steps and try to get your knees up as high as possible.  
  • The second gallop is with back kicks. Again with small steps, kick your feet up high behind you as though you’re trying to kick your own bottom. 
  • The third is the high skip, the want to swing your arms and move high with each skip. Try not to take out the lampshade.
  • The 4th is the grape vine. This is where you move sideways and alternate your right leg and left leg crossing in front and behind. If you were moving to the right you would take a step with your right leg and step your left leg behind it, then step with your right leg and step your left leg in front. 

Repeat this set twice.

Exercise: Boxing with Beans.
Motivation: The Invisible Friend Made Me Do It.

Scenario: Your child has just poured paint down the back of the television, you’ve discovered they’ve been stashing their bread crusts behind the radiators for months and they’ve used a permanent marker to colour in the screen of your mobile phone. When asked why they tell you their invisible friend made them do it.

How To: 
  • Place your feet shoulder width apart and point your knees, hips and toes forward. 
  • With elbows down clench your fists loosely in front of your face in the guard position. 
  • Punch out with your right hand until your arm is straight and twist your arm while moving so your palm in facing down. 
  • Return arm to original position and repeat with other arm. 
  • Ensure you move from the shoulder and avoid a jerky movement - keep it smooth.

Repeat 20 times per arm. Ensure you really show that invisible friend that you mean business and that you WILL NOT STAND for naughty imaginary people encouraging your children to do silly things. You will punch the air all day if necessary to prove your point. 

Have 30 seconds rest then repeat. 

This is a great de-stressing exercise and one that will tone up your arm and shoulder muscles. For a bit more resistance you can use hand weights … or a can of beans in each hand. 

Exercise: The Chocolate Button Incentive. (Lunges)
Motivation: You’re on a Diet but Your Child Has Chocolate Buttons. Eating the Ones They’ve Dropped Doesn’t Count, Right?

How To: 
  • Place your feet shoulder width apart and point your knees, hips and toes forward. 
  • Step your right leg forward and bend your right knee keeping it in line with your ankle. 
  • The heel of your left leg will lift fro the floor and your back knee will make a straight line from your hip to your shoulder. 
  • Stretch your arms down without curling your shoulders and imagine you are picking up all those delicious, delicious chocolate buttons your child has dropped. Dropped chocolate is calorie free, right?
  • Repeat with the left leg.

Repeat 15 times per leg or if you want to keep going, until you’re full up of imaginary chocolate buttons. 

Exercise: Can’t I Have 5 Minutes To Myself? (Squats)
Motivation: You’ve Just Managed to Get Some Time to Yourself in The Bathroom and Your Child Starts Banging on The Door and You Have to Get Back Up Again

How To: 
  • Place your feet shoulder width apart and point your knees, hips and toes forward. 
  • Clasp hands loosely and extend arms in front. 
  • Bend your knees and lower your bottom as though you’re going to sit on a chair.
  • Lower your bottom until it’s slightly higher than your knees then imagine you hear a child banging on the bathroom door about something urgent.
  • Raise yourself slowly to standing. 

Repeat 10 times, have 30 seconds rest then repeat.

You want your chest to be lifted and your back relaxed not arched and you don’t want your knees extending beyond your toes. 

Exercise: Confiscating the Favourite Toy (Dynamic Jumps) 
Motivation: Your Child Has Done Something Unbelievably Naughty (possibly Bolognese in Your Handbag) and You're Confiscating Their Favourite Toy. However Child Not Happy so Have to Keep it Out of Reach.

How to: 
  • Place your feet shoulder width apart and point your knees, hips and toes forward. 
  • Bend knees and move into crouch position. 
  • Look straight ahead while reaching arms down to touch floor on either side of feet. 
  • Straighten up and raise arms and move into a jump upwards, reaching arms towards ceiling. 

Repeat 20 times, have 30 seconds rest then repeat.

Note: A toot may pop out. Don’t worry. It’s like rocket power.


  1. I'm not a parent but this is flipping brilliant! -Everyone loves a good gallop! :)

    1. Galloping is definitely underrated! And I'm all for chocolate buttons ... even if they ARE imaginary ones!