13 Fast, Effective Workouts for Busy Parents

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If you had to choose between working harder or working smarter, which would you pick? If you’re a busy, tired, hardly-sleeping parent, we’re betting smarter. There’s good news for you! “Research from my NeuroFit lab shows that short five-minute movement breaks help you stay focused and remember more,” says Dr. Jennifer Heisz, author of Move The Body, Heal The Mind. This means that even though mom-brain is very, very real, little bursts of exercise will help lift that fog. What’s more, Dr. Heisz adds, “During the first 10 minutes of movement there is an increase in oxygenated blood flow to the brain, especially to the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which governs our working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control.” 

Whether it’s five minutes or thirty, giving yourself easy ways to keep active will have lasting benefits way beyond simply burning calories. We’ve tested a variety of short, simplified workouts geared at busy parents, all of them at or around just 15 minutes long. Read on to get moving.

 

The NeuroFix Workout

We love this one because although it is high-intensity, it requires no equipment or devices. Do it several times and you'll have a 15-minute (or so) routine you can take anywhere.

Jumping Jacks for 30 seconds 

Mountain Climbers for 30 seconds 

Skaters for 30 seconds

High Knees for 30 seconds 

Repeat 

Where to find it: Pre-order Move the Body, Heal the Mind here

Mom on the Go

Mom on the Go offers seven, short, thematic yoga practices designed to energize your body. Follow the 28-day program for postpartum recovery including pelvic and core exercises, or just pop in and do a reinvigoration yoga session.

Where to Find It: Mom on the Go

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The 15-Minute HIIT Metabolism Booster

This quick 15-minute workout uses your body weight to boost your muscles and your metabolism—no gym equipment required! 

Where to Find It: Fitness Blender

The Tabata Cardio Workout Plan

This fat-blasting workout plan is as effective as most longer workout sessions and combines two proven fat-loss techniques— metabolic strength and Tabata training. You'll work every muscle in your body (especially your abs!) in a fraction of the time!

Where to Find It: Shape

15-Minute Bounce-Back Dance Cardio Workout

This high-energy step-by-step dance routine will make you forget you're actually working out! 

Where to Find It: YouTube

15-Minute Jump Rope Workout

This jump rope routine only has five moves, but is sure to get your heart racing!

Where to Find It: Real Simple

The No-Equipment Necessary Plan

Take it back to basics with this 15-minute beginner workout— with no equipment necessary!

Where to Find It: YouTube

Sculpting Kettle Bell Workout

Just two kettlebells and 15 minutes are all you need to get in this body-sculpting workout. 

Where to Find It: Women's Health

The 15-Minute Runner Workout

This quick runner workout focuses on tightening and toning your body with moves like jump squats and mountain climbers. 

Where to Find It: Women's Health

Low Impact Cardio Workout

This low-impact cardio workout is a great way to exercise your whole body without worrying about any injuries!

Where to Find It: YouTube

At-Home Barre Workout

Can't make it out to a barre class? This 15-minute routine you can do right from your own living room!

Where to Find It: Greatist

Bonus Fitness Hacks

Need a few more fitness hacks to work into your routine? Try these, from lifting your baby to sprinting the stairs!

Where to Find Them: Tinybeans

—Kaitlyn Kirby

 

RELATED STORIES:

Mom-Friendly Fitness Programs to Jump-Start Your New Year

5 Great Online Yoga Programs

11 Ways to Get Fit without Going to the Gym

The Newest & Coolest Family Fitness Gear

15 Minute Workouts That Actually Work

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