Exercise for Busy Parents

Exercise - we know we should, but where would we find the time? Here are some practical and realistic ideas to help parents work exercise into their everyday lives

As parents we're all busy people. So the easiest way to find time to exercise is to work it into your daily routine. There's no quick fix to fitness, but by making these small changes you'll be on your way to become healthier - and your whole family will benefit.

Get walking!

Get a fitness tracker and set a daily steps goal. 10,000 steps per day is generally recommended for better health, but there's nothing to stop you doing more if you want to push yourself.

Remember, small changes can make a big difference, and walking is a great way to get more exercise and expend more energy. Walk as much as you can and take the stairs whenever possible. Leave the car at home, but if you have to use it then park a little further from the shops or school. 

Work out at home

Schedule some time with a friend – if there’s a group of you, take it in turns to look after the kids – and instead of meeting for a coffee, get together and do a workout DVD or YouTube video at home. Find one that’s spilt into sections, so you can easily do just 5 or 10 minutes, or carry on for half an hour if you want. 

Take the kids swimming or cycling

The great thing about swimming or cycling is that they're easy to do, and the whole family can all work out together in a fun way. Don't just watch your kids from the side of the pool, get in there too. Explore your local area while cycling. Take a picnic and make it a full day out.

Join an online virtual personal trainer

If motivation is your biggest stumbling block, this is a cost (and time) effective way to stay motivated and give you ideas on how to exercise. Plus you can do it any time that suits you - when kids are napping, early in the morning or after they've gone to bed.


Even if it's just around your living room - its fun and can burn lots of calories, plus your kids will love it too! 


Invest in a few hand weights

Keep some weights handy at home so you can schedule a quick workout- even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, when the kids are asleep or at school. If you can’t afford to buy weights, have a look in the cupboard. A couple of tins or bags of rice will have the same affect as commercial gym weights.

Join a stroller club

Get motivated with other parents, form a group and go walking or jogging at a regular time each week. Start slow – mix equal amounts of running with walking for the first few months. If it’s tricky to get this off the ground, enlist the help of a trainer to get you started. 


While watching TV, standing at the stove or waiting for the washing to finish, do some leg exercises, stomach crunches or pelvic floor exercises. 



Related links

  • 10 Rules of Energy: Personal trainer Melinda Nicci has helped hundreds of women regain their pre-baby shape. These are her top tips for health and energy.
  • Introduction to Post-natal Energy: We all want our pre-pregnancy looks back as soon as possible, but Melinda Nicci encourages us to listen to our bodies and set realistic goals. Next month, see her 10 rules of energy…
  • Losing that mummy tummy: exercise after birth: Exercise can make a huge difference to your recovery after you have your baby – but how do you fit an exercise routine in around your baby?

Related Advice