Creative Ways to Find Time to Exercise When You’re a Busy Mom

Today I’m excited to share a guest post with you from Natasha over at Not Your Average Mom. You’ll find Natasha’s full bio at the end of this post, so make sure to check that out. So now get ready to discover some creative ways to find time to exercise when you’re a busy mom.

Committing to and sticking with an exercise routine can be difficult for anyone. But when you’re a mom, sometimes that mountain just feels unclimbable. Not only are you responsible for yourself, but you’ve also been given the huge task of making sure every single need is met when it comes to your family, home, career, and everything else that might be taking up your time and attention. At the end of the day, it’s sometimes just too easy to push everything else aside and say, “I’ll get to it later.”

Only more times than not, later doesn’t come. As moms, we are all guilty at one point or another of putting ourselves – our goals, hopes, and dreams at the bottom of our to-do list. We do this because we feel it’s our job, only the thing we forget to consider is how can we effectively take care of everyone and everything else when we’re not taking care of ourselves? 

Engaging in physical activity has SO many health benefits; and it’s more than just reaching a certain goal weight, fitting into an old pair of jeans, or looking a certain way. It’s about being confident in the skin you’re in, and taking care of the one and only body you’ve been given. It’s also a great way to relieve stress, and believe me moms, that’s something we can all benefit from! 

This year, instead of letting another 12 months pass you by with those goals sitting untouched, make a commitment to yourself; that you’ll move your own name higher up on your list and keep that promise to yourself. Here are 5 simple yet creative every-day ways you can make time to exercise, no matter how busy you are.

Workout First Thing

Commit to exercising before you do anything else in the morning. This means before you make breakfast, and before you check your email or social media. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier if you need to, to ensure you get this in. When you start your day off with a healthy choice, you’re that much more likely to continue making healthy decisions as the day goes on. Plus, when you’re able to knock out a workout first thing, you can’t give yourself any excuses to keep pushing it back later in the day, until it doesn’t happen because you’re “too busy.” Set out your clothes and shoes the night before, and commit to the decision that you’re getting up at the first sound of the alarm.

Utilize Lunch Break or Nap Time

Whether you’re going into the office or working from home, utilize those breaks! Opting to eat your lunch on the go and taking a quick walk is a great way to burn some mid-day calories. Or, if you’re home with your kiddos, use their nap time as your time to move. Whether it’s doing circuits on your stairs, or busting out the booty bands or dumbbells to get a quick living room workout in. Remember: it’s not about the time you spend exercising, but about the quality of the workout. Sometimes a quick ten minute burner can be more effective than an hour in the gym. It’s about using your time wisely.

Involve Your Kids

Let the kids join you! Not only are you giving them an outlet to release pent up energy, especially if they’re at home or doing distance learning right now, but you’re leading by example and showing them how fun it can be to get up and move your body in a way that’s healthy. Go for a walk, play together in the backyard, or make an obstacle course at the playground.

Schedule Your Workout

Schedule a time to exercise and put it in your calendar. Even if you’re only going for a run around the block, or to your home workout room and not the actual gym. When you treat that time as an important appointment that can’t be missed, you’ll be that much more likely to stick to it. No matter how busy your day gets, it’s in your calendar so it has to be done. Your to-do list will be waiting for you when you get back.

Look for Simple Swaps

Look for things that you’re already doing that can be modified to incorporate more activity. For example, instead of driving the kids to school, walk them or ride bikes if you live close enough to do so. Say goodbye to the special “Moms Only” parking spot at the grocery store and park a little further out to get more steps in. When you’re able to, avoid elevators and take the stairs. As you get into the habit of moving your body more, you’ll be surprised at all the little ways you can incorporate more activity into your day.

If getting to a gym is currently an issue, there are plenty of at-home options to still get in a killer workout:

  • Go for a run/walk outside
  • Bike rides
  • Stair workouts/circuits
  • Bodyweight HIIT routines
  • Inexpensive equipment that stores easily:
    • Booty bands: you can usually find a set of bands for less than $20 on Amazon, and they’re great to throw in your bag or keep in a drawer and pull out for some added resistance to squats, hip thrusts, squat jumps, and more.
    • Jump rope: these make for a GREAT cardio workout that will increase your heart rate and help you blast some serious calories
    • Water jugs: 1 full water jug is about 8 pounds and work great as dumbbells if you don’t have any!

Remember this: any routine or new habit change seems more overwhelming in the beginning than it actually is. But patience and consistency will pay off in the long run. Sticking to your new routine even on the days you feel swamped, or on the days it’s not fun, will give you the results you’re after. And most of all, learn to focus on progress; not perfection. You got this!


Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist. She’s also the founder and creator of Not Your Average Mom: a motherhood blog featuring real stories from real moms. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, Googling her parenting decisions, drinking all the coffee, and coaching her clients to live their best lives.





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7 thoughts on “Creative Ways to Find Time to Exercise When You’re a Busy Mom”

  1. So true! Many times people say that they have to exercise, but then, life gets in the way. Self care should be a top priority.

    1. Oh that’s a great idea! We don’t have any hiking places very close, but we do like to take walks in our neighborhood.

  2. Great article and your concept of simple swaps is a great idea for everyone. There’s always a way to fit in activity with what we are doing.

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