The Best Exercise for Your Lifestyle

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The Single Parent on a Tight Schedule

Expert Favorite: Housework Training

For parents who don't feel that they can dedicate a chunk of time to a workout, Davis suggests embracing household chores and playtime with kids as a way to amp up activity levels. Taking the stairs two at a time with a basket of laundry is like a lunge with added weight for resistance. Pushing a child on the swing is like a low-intensity chest press. Using a manual push lawn mower is both cardiovascular and resistance training.

For parents who feel they can squeeze a trip to the gym into their busy schedules, West suggests circuit training using the weight machines. Rotating around exercises that use different muscle groups cuts down on the recovery time between sets.

Though people often prefer to wait until later in the day to go to the gym, Walters urges parents to get up a bit earlier and do their exercise routine, whether at home or at the gym, before the day starts. People who slot it into their day in the morning are more likely to stick to it than those who push it off until the evening, he says.

The Mommy-to-Be -- Baby-Bump Friendly Fitness

Expert Favorite: Prenatal Yoga

A pregnant woman's body has to change in a number of ways to accommodate the baby. These changes can have serious consequences for the types of exercise she can do and the type of injury she is at risk for. The extra weight in her stomach and breasts will change her center of gravity and put extra strain on her lower back; her joints will become more elastic which will increase the risk of injury if she tries to do high-impact exercise; her blood pressure is more susceptible to spiking if she's not careful about keeping her head higher than her heart.

As a result, pregnant women should never try to work out harder than they did before becoming pregnant and in general should look to low-impact, low-intensity forms of exercise such as walking, pregnant yoga, and swimming.

"Prenatal yoga is something I refer people to often because it rolls in breathing techniques that they will use during labor with stretching and flexibility," says Dolen.

Into the second and third trimesters, women should choose exercises that support the abdomen and lower back because there will be a shift in her posture due to the extra weight, says Billy Davis, director of personal training at Complete Body and Spa in New York City. "Seated and lying exercises, no heavy squats, and more walking, less running."

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