5 ways to find time to exercise when you’re flat out with the kids – and one of them might shock you!

Do you find yourself busy running errands? Busy running your kids around? Yet too busy to actually run???

Lack of time is one of the biggest reasons mothers give for not exercising, which is unsurprising given the demands placed on us by our children, and the demands we place on ourselves.

So to help those of us who can’t quite seem to find the time to exercise, we chatted with a bunch of busy mothers who consistently manage to fit a workout into their days, and compiled some of their tips.


5 ways to fit in exercise when you’re flat out with the kids


1. Wear your exercise clothes when playing with your kids.

“I wear my gym clothes to the playground which inspires me to exercise while they play. I run laps around the equipment, do pull-ups on the monkey bars, sit-ups and stretches on the grass. I can still keep an eye on them as they play, but am getting a work out at the same time.”

Rhiannon, mother of 3



2. Multi-tasking motor-mama.

Why not combine some of your favourite activities with exercise? Jenny, a food-loving mother of 2 explained how it works for her:

“I found I would always make the time to watch Masterchef, but not to exercise – so I decided to combine the two. My partner comes home in time for me to dash down to the gym where I watch it while on the treadmill.”

Or how about switching those catch-ups with your girlfriends from cafes or playgrounds to a stroll somewhere picturesque?

 3. Get active with the kids.

Make play-time active-time, and you’ll easily clock up incidental exercise in your day. Depending on the age of your child, try playing backyard soccer, hula-hooping, going for a hike, skipping, swimming, totem tennis, bike riding, sprinting games, or dancing around the living room.

Amanda, a mother of 2 boys, shared how she does this:

“I’ve got a boxing-style workout DVD that my little boys love. I put it on and get a work out while they try to follow along, their little fists air-punching in time with the music. Great exercise for me, and so cute to watch them join in.”


4. Stroller-derby.

When your kids are little it’s easy to strap them into a pram and go for a walk. Turn this into a focussed work out with this handy tip:

“I bought a pedometer for $10 and aimed to take 16,000 steps per day. To manage that, I simply walked more with the pram. Having that daily goal made the walks more purposeful yet it didn’t upset my usual routine with Chloe.”

Suse, mother of 3


And the final tip is mine, and may be a little shocking to some:

5. Cancel their activities.

My week was chock-full of play-dates, swimming and sport lessons, library visits, shopping and household chores. Till one day I realised my 3 year old was more active and fitter than I was!

I cancelled his kiddie-sport classes, and changed his weekly swimming classes to quarterly intensive swimming camps. Instead, I use that time – and the money I save – to go to the gym. He’s just as happy and active there at the crèche, and I’m regularly exercising again. Win Win!



Need motivation t0 exercise? 9 ways to find your exercise mojo now you’re a mum.

Want to know what equipment you really need? 3 must-haves when you exercise (and why they’ll make you feel hotter immediately)

Or, just busy making excuses for not exercising? Join our confessional: Reasons I didn’t exercise this week. Nearly 200 others have already shared theirs!


Quick, share! How do you find time to exercise?

baby hanger1 9 ways to find your exercise mojo now youre a mum


  • Pene

    They are excellent ideas!!  My oldest two need me to get them to their sports but don’t need me to stay ‘to watch’ – on top of that it is too far from home for me  to get there and back in time.  They Swim for an hour and a half – I walk laps around for a while with the ipod in then grab a coffee and a mag and sit for the remainder.  Not possible to do this with younger kids, but a great opportunity to fit in some “me” time as they get older xxx

    • So important to find me time. I call it “sane time” 😉 xx

  • The-hopps

    I take my kids with me! I do pilates twice a week, the first class a mums and bubs (when my 3 year old is at kindy), then the second at a special women’s physio that has a toyroom (which the 3 year old loves)! It’s an added bonus not feeling guilty whilst having some ‘me’ time at the same time!

    • Great ideas there the-hopps!

  • If I’m heading to the gym, I find it easiest to do it straight after school drop off. The best thing about doing it at this time is I can whack on my comfy gym clothes in the morning without needing to worry about what to wear in the morning 🙂

    • Now, THAT is a win win!

  • tammie true

    I don’t find the time to exercise, I MAKE the time.

    • You sound like you’ve got it sorted. Well done x

  • Kelly K.

    I find time to exercise by taking our dog and my little girl for a walk daily.

  • Kelly K.

    I just subscribed to your newsletter.

  • I bought a buggy on ebay for the back of my bike, that fits the two little girls perfectly.  A few days a week we ride down to the playground at the beach.  They have a play in the sunshine and mummy gets in two good 30 minute bike rides in one day.  Win, win.

    Shared on http://www.facebook.com/pages/WHOA-MUMMA/334881903040.

  • Mel

    I completely stopped exercising when the weather turned so awful and I hate gyms, so have been completely slovenly and lazy this winter and just turned to eating and drinking instead! The effects are not good! Thanks for the tips on how to get more active with kids, which is always my excuse! PS sounds like the blog seminar in Melbourne was great, so annoyed I couldn’t get there. Hope we can meet up with Lyn soon.

    • Hi Mel, I’ve found it hard to get motivated this winter. Red wine and the warmth of home are too inviting… I’ve found an awesome gym nearby though – Virgin Active – I always hated gyms before I found that place. Awesome kids creche too. 
      Don;t worry about the conference, Lyn took LOADS of notes (can’t believe she was sitting next to me!) 

  • Sarah

    Love this post and the whole series. Seriously Andrea you rock! Love the bit about canceling the kids activities – good move. 

    • Ah thanks Sarah! You’ve made my day. x

  • Tat

    I take my kids to an outdoor gym and we play there. I sneak in some exercise, too. Then we play chasing. Unfortunately, I don’t do it regularly enough.

    • Chasings will get you every time! That said, if my kid runs up to me to ‘tip’ me again I might scream! 😉

    • Chasings will get you every time! That said, if my kid runs up to me to ‘tip’ me again I might scream! 😉

  • Cathy

    I started sending my preschooler to school five days a week – now I have time to hit the treadmill every day! Thank you for the giveaway.

  • My son does soccer training for over an hour 2-3 nights a week so I drop him off up the park and do the bay run (well fast walk) with the dog for an hour.  Well that’s my intention most of the time anyway!

  • Anonymous

    I found I was making a lot of excuses about not having time to go to the gym and my baby is too young to go to the creche there. So I cancelled the membership and bought a treadmill. No travel time means less excuses. Now I tready almost every night when hubs gets home. ( I also do squats in the kitchen while waiting for the microwave to steralise the bottles. But I didn’t really want to give anyone that visual.. sorry.)

    • Wow well done! Might try the squatting trick myself (sorry, repeat visual!) x

    • suzanne

      LOL – don’t worry, I do squats while brushing my teeth – takes me longer and longer to brush my teeth every day haha.  (And yes, sorry for that visual too!)

      I also do these funny looking swing one leg up sideways while teethbrushing…have to keep my core very strong or risk choking on the toothbrush as I fall over.  Must look HILARIOUS….so am also keeping one ear on the door to make sure my husband doesn’t catch me looking like such an idiot.  

      All in the name of a great butt 🙂

  • Definitely wearing exercise clothes for the school pick-up. Then if the weather is nice we go for a walk/run/play in the park, or I go to the gym and they hang out with the other kids there!

  • Definitely wearing exercise clothes for the school pick-up. Then if the weather is nice we go for a walk/run/play in the park, or I go to the gym and they hang out with the other kids there!

  • Definitely wearing exercise clothes for the school pick-up. Then if the weather is nice we go for a walk/run/play in the park, or I go to the gym and they hang out with the other kids there!

    • Wow Bronnie, sounds like you’ve got it sorted!

  • Walking the 175 lb dog!


    selinda_mccumbers at yahoo.com

  • steve

    I walk my dogs daily.

  • Tracey Byram

    Keeping a 10 room house clean and keeping up with 3 children IS my daily workout. I´m totally pooped at the end of the day.

    • Tracey, that’s a big job. And a big house! 😉

  • Wood57495

    I make time by making sure it gets done! It is a must! I walk every evening.

    • It is so important in so many ways huh!

  • Christine

    I squeeze in the time when I can, and I have found a friend who helps motivate me (and I her) when I don’t really feel like getting out after a busy day with the kids!

    kissyjensen at gmail dot com

    • Wow, lucky to have a buddy to team up with. Gold!

  • I am getting up earlier and fitting in 30 minutes before my son wakes up of a morning. Also instead of sitting on my bum when he’s at Kindy twice a week, I slot in two more 30 minutes exercise sessions.
    djchilds (at) hot mail {dot} com
    I’m already following your blog and subscribed to the emails.

    • Hi Di! That’s a great tip: get up earlier.

  • I keep a skipping rope outside and when the kids are playing in the garden i do ten – twenty minutes of intense skipping, almost everyday. The kids think its hilarious! 


    • I’m gonna try that!

  • Lauren

    I work out in my living room so I can still keep an eye on everyone.

  • I find picking up the baby all day and running up and down the stairs to the laundry numerous times a day can be puffing, also running around the backyard with the older kids kicking the ball.

    • Am hearing you. I can hardly sit down all day when the kids are around!

      • Actually, I NEVER sit down!

  • Sheather703

    Working two jobs that require a lot of walking is enough lol oh the weekends me and my mom like to go for walks.

    sheather703 at aol dot com

  • jen kollman

     I walk my little one in the pram to drop off my oldest at Pre School.  I can’t believe how I have actually toned up a bit just from a 15min walk there and 15mins back!
    I shared on Facebook as Jennifer Kollman.

  • I combine my exercising with doing the housework. I get a great workout and a sparkling clean house

    I shared on Twitter @kimbo058

  • Barbara

    I walk to buy the paper every morning. When I’m watching my fave TV shows, I like to stretch and do simple warmup exercises in the lounge room

    • Great ideas. I love the idea of exercising and doing something at the same time.

  • Katherine G.

    I find time to exercise by making my friends and family do it with me – it is our activity instead of watching a tv show or eating or something like that.

    • Great idea. That’s a win, win for everyone 😉

  • I tend to stay up late.  That way everyone is in bed and it’s just ME time!  Exercise usually fits into that…lol

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

    • Good idea. I’m up late too (but usually doing this site…)

  • I’m an email subscriber, coriwestphal at msn dot com.

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  • suzanne

    I do all kinds of hilarious looking things any chance I get – yoga poses in front of Grey’s Anatomy, squats while teethbrushing, running on the spot as fast as I can for as long as I can while my daughter’s playing in the backyard (might swap for the skipping rope idea from below :).  If I can drag myself out of bed before my little one bounces up, then I do some qi gong and get properly warmed up with some of the more challenging yoga poses.  I figure its all baby steps, and I don’t want to not exercise just because I haven’t managed to find a full 30 minutes in my day to focus on it.
    But, my next baby step is to do just that, and start doing Zumba in the lounge room (thx to some new DVDs) straight after littlie’s bedtime and before getting distracted with housework/other work.

    PS posted on FB as Luminous Life Kinesiology, and am already a subscriber

    • GREAT tips here Suzanne – thankyou for sharing. You sound very motivated! Good on you!

  • Delena McGuire

    I workout before work in the mornings. Once you get used to it it’s a great way to start the day. It’s just a matter of getting up a bit early and making time for it.
    mcirish02 at hotmail dot com

  • Stacy T

    I squeeze it in whenever I can, like parking far away and taking extra laps around the store. I also prefer to exercise in the evening when its cooler.

  • Kerri69

    I put on my workout running shoes even when I dont want they motivate me to move 


    I do not do other things that are less necessary.

  • elsie

    while watching  tv, i do leg lifts – and arm exercies

  • Melissa

    I find time to exercise by waking up early and doing Jillian Michaels DVDs at home before work- no excuses!

  • Michelle Spayde

    Ummm…. I’ve been slacking quite a bit lately so nice to read this and get back into the groove!   I plan on getting back on my spinning bike and make that a condition of watching my fave TV program

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  • Pmejm

    I have a dog and a pushchair! My dog needs his walks twice a day, so I put the minnies in the pushchair and off we go. I aim for one of the walks to be more of a power walk to work up a bit of aa sweat. The other is more realxed as my 2 year old likes to get out and walk too.

    • FoxInFlats

      Dogs, yes! What a great tip. It’s certainly one way to force yourself out of the house. 

  • Number 5 could easily apply to finding your social life as well! From an outsider’s perspective it seems a common occurrence that mums don’t have time to have a life outside their kids, because their kids are too busy having a life. Cancel some activities for you! I think people feel too guilty.

  • Nenny

    Keep some dumbbells in your lounge room or kitchen and do some quick lunges, bicep curls, side pulses, whatever you have time for. (weights work wonders in so many ways)
    Do things like step ups, squats and lunges when you can (kids in highchair, waiting for microwave to finish are good times)
    Aim to do some sort of exercise every day.
    try to get into an exercise routine. before I get tea ready I get in my gym gear and go to the gym as soon as I put bubs to sleep
    And have fun with it!