Since I can remember, I have loved to move. My ideal day would consist of a 3-mile run in the morning, walking with a friend during my lunch break, and teaching yoga or Pilates at night. I love exercise and never thought I wouldn’t have time for it. Then I had children. The demands of working full-time and taking care of a newborn even had me saying – I don’t have time to work out!

It took a lot of dedication, planning, and time management, but I can say (two kids later) that I do find time for daily exercise while balancing all of life’s demands. Here are tips that helped me make it happen, and I hope they help you too.

  • Plan your workouts. Before my head hits the pillow, I have a plan for the next day’s workout and I make sure my clothes are ready. For me, working out early in the morning means I can be finished when the kids wake up. But if the kids wake up early, I can easily work out at lunch because my workout clothes are packed and ready.
  • Make exercise a priority. It’s not selfish to take time to focus on your health so that you have the energy to care for your family. Think of exercise like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or taking a shower. Make it a daily routine.
  • Make your home your gym. Exercise videos, fitness websites, and portable equipment, such as stability balls, kettlebells, and resistance bands, make it easier to work out at home. I love InterActive Exercise because I can get the same quality, gym workout, but I can do it in my PJs!
  • Play with your kids. Kids love to move so why not move with them. There are numerous fitness classes specifically for mothers and babies. Or you can just head to your neighborhood park and swing, jump, and run to your heart’s (and your kids’) content.
  • Use your lunch break. Sixty percent of workers don’t take their lunch break. Yet the break from your desk can help you be more alert, focused, and productive. Walking is easy. Just throw on a pair of athletic shoes and go. Invite a co-worker to walk with you at lunch or start a walking group.
  • Turn family time into fitness time. Hiking, biking, playing soccer, or even zombie tag are fun ways to have family time while getting in a workout. As your kids get older, sign up for family fun walks and races. With childhood obesity rates skyrocketing, it is never too early to get your children interested in fitness.
  • Every minute counts! Research shows you will see benefits with as little as 5 minutes of exercise. If you don’t have time for a 30-minute or longer workout, just take time to move more. Do 30 seconds of squats, walk down the hall, or grab your Toner and do a few bicep curls every hour.
  • Stroll(er) along. You can walk or jog with your kids or even join an organized stroller fitness class. This is a healthy way to spend time with your kids, get outdoors, and get in a workout.

Writer April Plank, MBA, is a certified fitness expert.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.