As it turns out, short bursts of exercise are now being acknowledged as very likely having the same benefits as long, arduous sessions. So why torture myself? Instead, I've adopted some quick key moves to alternate and do at home... whenever. Included is a secret weapon piece de (weight) resistance that is the bomb and easy as ABC.
Here are my favorite routines to do at home whenever it works out:
Yoga : The Sun Salutation plus a short set of basic hatha yoga positions from this book. All it took was a couple of one-on-one sessions with a yoga instructor when I first started and I've been practicing on my own ever since (for yearrrrrs). Ideally done in the morning but, really, so good for you, try it anytime. (Follow it with twenty minutes of meditation and magic starts to happen.)
Ballet Beautiful : This is the lovely ballet exercise regimen created by professional ballerina and Black Swan trainer, Mary Helen Bowers. I simply zeroed in on a few of the exercises that suit me best -- I like the standing side lunge exercise, plie moves, and swan arms. Just grab what you like and go.
Along the same lines of a few key moves doing the trick -- I like these two highly effective but oh so simple plie exercises from Physique 57 that you can do anytime, anywhere. Sometimes, I'll do one of them in the kitchen while I'm waiting for pasta water to boil.
ABCs : For an incredible one-stop-shop that works everything in a few minutes, try this ABC Workout! I think it's just brilliant, especially since weight bearing exercise is so important for women. (Note though -- the first time I did this, or any first time after a long hiatus, I am super sore a couple days later and can hardly walk. It goes away, but plan accordingly so you haven't signed on for something like a Walk-A-Thon or to chaperone a field trip to the zoo.)
When all else fails, I simply throw a blanket down and do a few things at night while catching something on TV. My go-tos are the Pilates hot one hundred, some basic stretching, side-to-side scissor kicks, and crunches. Any kind of grind is much less noticeable when you're engrossed in something else -- good or bad TV, it doesn't matter.
If I go weeks without managing much, or for those times I decide not to give cardio the complete cold shoulder, I crank the music and dance it out. Most enjoyed when the kids join in.
* check with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen