How to Sneak in Exercise as a Busy Mom

Find Time for Fitness: Mom’s Ultimate Workout Guide

By Kristen Winiarski



You may feel consumed by your kids, their activities, and your work when you’re a mom. Finding any time for yourself can be difficult, but when you find the time to move, it will help both your body and mind. Sitting all day can be rough on the body, and the mental break that comes with working out has many benefits.


The problem comes in finding the time to work out. It may seem like an impossible task, but there are ways to sneak it in, even if you’re with your kids all day or are a working mom.


Things to Keep in Mind

  • Mentality shift

The days of doing 60-minute workouts are gone, mama. Sure, it was nice to exercise when you wanted and get it done all at once, but that’s not your life anymore. Realize when you hit the mat or strap on your shoes that you may not be able to finish, and that’s okay.


I’ve stopped mid-workout to change a diaper or nurse. I stopped because someone needed something. It will happen, but that doesn’t mean you may not get 10 to 20 minutes done before it does.


  • Pick your activity carefully.

Since you can’t dedicate a solid hour to working out anymore, you need to think differently about how you view working out. It doesn’t need to be as long or complicated as it used to be. Instead, you need to fit in movement when you can and be open to adjusting the plan.


  • Set your kid up with an activity.

To buy yourself some time, make sure the kids have something to do. If your kid is cool coloring or doing puzzles by themselves, awesome.


  • Change what working out means to you.

Some days you may not have the structured activity you want. Work with what you have. Have a dance party or chase your kid. Go for a walk together. Whatever ways you can get moving throughout the day will all help.


  • Take shifts with your partner.

Instead of trying to fit it in during the day when you’re with your kids, you may be able to wait until your partner gets home. If they can watch the kids while you work out, it can help you get some of the uninterrupted time that you’re looking for. Just be aware that it might still get interrupted.


  • Use break time at work.

If you work outside the home, you can take time during breaks to fit in some activity. Sitting all day can be tough, so you need to get up and move around anyway. You could go for a walk during your lunch or take a dance break if you have a private office.


  • Realize it’s important.

One of the biggest things is prioritizing your workout. If you decide it matters, you’ll find a way to fit it in. You must want to do it, or you’ll find more reasons why you can’t.


  • Give yourself a break.

Lastly, we know we’re hardest on ourselves. Didn’t get moving today? Yesterday either? Oh well, move on. Think of something fun for tomorrow. No matter how well you plan things, they quickly derail, especially with kids involved.


How to Sneak in Exercise


  • Go for a walk together.

Grab the stroller and go for a walk. I did this a lot when my kids were small. It helps get you some fresh air, and they can sleep. If your kids are bigger, you can have them walk with you. The only problem there is that you may not be able to go as long as you’d like, but you’ll still be getting exercise.


  • Workout together

My kids will sometimes do workout videos. It can be hard to motivate myself to do theirs with them, but if I try, I’ll usually have fun. We can all do a video together, and at least I’m moving, even if it’s not my first choice. These videos are beneficial in the winter or if the weather is bad since we sit around too much.


  • Go to the gym early or late.

I’m in the camp of getting workouts done as soon as possible, so you could also wake up early to get one in. If night works better for you, you can also do that. If you want to go to a gym, you can find one with daycare to bring your kids along.


  • Exercise during naptime or while your kids are watching a show

Naptime and TV time are great times to sneak in a workout. Your kids are otherwise occupied, so it can be a great time to get this done. You don’t really want to watch their shows anyway.


  • Play outside

Grab the frisbee or a ball and go outside. You can run around with the kids, and all of you can get some exercise that doesn’t feel so much like traditional exercise.


  • Have a dance party

This one is one of my favorites. I love to dance and used to use it as part of my workout routine. My kids love music, too, so we’ll put on some fun tunes and dance together.


Just the idea of implementing a workout routine can be overwhelming when you have kids. The keys are to change your thinking about what a workout is and then take advantage of time in smaller increments. If you prioritize it, you’ll find a way to fit it in and forgive yourself for the bad days.

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