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4 Accidental Workouts for the Summer Mama

mom picking up baby outside Providence Moms BlogWhen the temperature soars, it’s nearly impossible to motivate myself to exercise, despite my promise to myself that my daily summer schedule was “cook something, clean something, and exercise.” However,  I recently discovered four workouts by accident. Who says exercise has to be planned or traditional, right? Right!

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1: Drain the inflatable pool. 

This $20 inflatable pool is the best thing I ever bought. However, after two days in the 100-degree heat, it turns green and essentially serves as a mosquito fertility clinic. So, I knew I had to drain it, and in a serious underestimation of the task in ahead, I wandered out back in my PJs and a sports bra. 

If like me, you are a genius who places the pool on an incline with the drain at the highest point, this will be an extra challenge. Bailing the water out with a cracked sandcastle bucket is like something out of your CrossFit nightmares (I mean, I assume. I’ve never actually gone to CrossFit). Trying to flip the pool all by yourself and failing multiple times is reminiscent of hulky dudes flipping tractor tires. Once I finally got it empty–30 minutes later–my whole body was thrumming and I was severely out of breath. 

Areas worked: glutes, quads, core, sanity.

2. Go to the beach with your children

As all summer mamas know, taking your children to the beach requires at least 100 pounds of chairs, coolers, toys, towels, snacks, floats, goggles, and sunblock. Walking on uneven sand is tiring and good for the muscles! Adding all the gear to that walk, plus at least one child who insists on being carried means you are now toting three times your own body weight across the scorching desert on your way to what will surely be an oasis of family fun and bliss.  What’s that? Little Johnny left his towel in the car and nothing else will do? Back you go, Mama, across two football fields’ worth of uneven sand. Oh, little Suzy, you can’t be without mama for even a second, even though Daddy is right here? Piggyback for you and more exercise for Mama!

Areas worked: calves, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, biceps, patience.

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3: Stage a family photo shoot. In my family, this is known as “JR’s least favorite hour of the year.” You’ll crush the most calories if you stage your photo shoot at the beach because of that whole torture-of-walking-on-uneven-sand thing. You’ll get an even more stellar workout if your children are small and like to chase seagulls. This is really more of an interval workout with very minimal rest. You’ll spend 1 – 2 minutes chasing children, and then 1 -2 minutes sitting, smiling, and trying not to look sweaty while holding said children. The sitting and smiling are supposed to be the “rest” portion, but depending on how heavy and squirmy your children are, your upper body will really feel the burn. In the end, you’ll likely end up with something like this: windswept hair that shows your roots, a child who insists on including a naked baby doll, and a photo you don’t love. But at least you’ll have broken a sweat and gotten some accidental exercise!

Areas worked: mild cardio; arms, back, shoulders, strength of marriage.

4: Go to Costco.

Or BJs. Or Walmart. Basically anywhere that’s big and has air conditioning and shopping carts. Bonus workout points for getting the cart with the car in front. At first, this will seem like the best idea you ever had for getting out of the heat. The giant over-air-conditioned space will seem like a haven from all of your problems. Then you will try to make a left turn into the cereal aisle and you will feel every muscle in your body begin to tremble with the effort. That car attachment may be fun for the kids, but it is no fun at all for you! But you’ll regroup and become excited by a sale on the 40-lb tub of cat litter, so you’ll get two. And that jumbo pack of juice boxes will make packing beach snacks so much easier. Same with the chips assortment and huge selection of granola bars. And of course, you need a case of water! And wine! 

Now your cart weighs approximately 2,000 pounds and you can’t make any turns of any kind. Pushing it is exhausting, but just wait until you unload it all into your car. Better yet, you get to haul both tubs of cat litter inside. Did these juice boxes weigh this much at the store? At this point you’re thinking that the case of water will be fine left in the trunk for a few days, right? Bonus points if you have to go up and down stairs to finish putting all the groceries away.

Areas worked: pecs and triceps steering the cart; core, glutes, and quads pushing the cart; light cardio; wallet.

Summer is a great time to be with your children and to sneak some exercise into your everyday activities, whether intentional or not. If you’ve completed this list and still find you need a little more cardio, there are always seagulls that need chasing!

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