Finding Time to Exercise

Since November 2009, I have lost over 70 pounds.  I’ve got 25 to go – which is proving much more difficult than the first 70, but that’s another post for another day – but I still feel like I’ve been very successful reaching my goals.

People often want to know how I’ve lost the weight and how I’ve found the time, considering the fact that I’m a busy homeschool mom with three kids.  You can read more on my blog about how I’ve lost the weight, but today I wanted to offer some tips on finding the time because I know that’s often the big issue for most moms.

1. Plan workouts while the kids are sleeping. I think this may be key for many moms because it’s so hard to get a workout in with kids around.  I’m blessed with kids who sleep late, so I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to workout before they wake up.

If you’ve got early risers, it may be that you’ll need to do your workouts at night after they’ve gone to sleep or during naptime.  Walking workout guru, Leslie Sansone often says, “The best time to workout is when you’ll do it.”

In the case of busy moms, it might be that “the best time to workout is when you can.”  Just make sure that you find a time when you can at least 3 or 4 days each week.

photo by Kris

2. Plan workouts when you’ve got some help. If you can’t do your workout while your kids are sleeping, do it when your husband is home to help out.  Remember, it doesn’t have to take an hour or two to get in a good workout.  A brisk 20 or 30 minute walk or run is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories.  It can also be a great stress reliever at the end of a busy day.

3. Squeeze in workouts when you can. Getting in a good, calorie-burning workout doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Walking, running, or biking can be done in 10 or 15 minutes snagged here or there a couple of times a day.  It’s total, cumulative time that builds up to results, not necessarily one long, sweat-pouring workout.

You can walk in place or on the treadmill or use an elliptical or stationary bike while you watch TV.  If your space or funds are limited, you might consider purchasing an aerobic step and using it while you watch TV.

4. Little changes count. I read recently that standing burns 115 calories an hour, whereas sitting burns only 80.  We may not have a lot of extra time, but we can all stand instead of sitting.

Do you have stairs in your house?  Use them!  Don’t do like I used to do and ask the kids to bring you something.  Go get it.  A few times a day take four or five (or more) trips up and down the stairs.  Who needs a step aerobics class to get your heart pumping when you’ve got a flight of stairs in your house?

photo by Kris

5. Get the whole family involved. Instead of trying to find time to workout without the kids, consider getting the whole family involved.  Go outside and play tag, jump rope, or play basketball.  Go on a family bike ride.  Head out to the playground.

Pushing your kids on the swing can turn a boring upper body workout into fun for everyone. Don’t just watch your kids on the monkey bars – join them!  Do a few chin-ups while you’re there (if you can – I still can’t do those things).  You can even take a few laps around the playground while your kids play – this can be a lot of fun if you invite another mom to join you.

If you’ve got a Wii, games like Wii Fit or Just Dance are great – and fun -ways to get the whole family moving.

Making the effort to carve out some time for your health in your busy day is so worth the effort.  The health benefits and the increase in energy will have you wondering why you didn’t start making changes sooner.  A healthier mom really is a happier mom.

Do you make time for a healthier you each day?  If so, what ways of finding time to exercise have worked for you?

Kris has chronicled her journey from couch potato to 5K runner on her blog, Eclipsed.  Beyond the fitness changes, she’s still the same old sweet-tea drinking, classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason, mostly socialized mom to her three Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Kris Bales
Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.


  1. says

    I really love workout videos so I do them in the afternoon. My girls know that is MY time and can keep themselves busy for 1/2 an hour. I also just started getting earlier to do a twice a week yoga class. I am home from class before anyone else is awake and it feels great to have my workout done for the day!

  2. says

    I agree. Just do it. I used to make excuses too and there are plenty of people who will nod their heads and agree, “Yes. You are so busy!” But that kind of support isn’t helpful. Find someone to hold you accountable who can encourage you to find the time.

    I have five children, the youngest two are twins who will be two in June. My husband works six days a week and two of those are usually out of town.

    I say this confidently, but if I can find time, anyone can. Here are some things that I do that might help you.

    Join My Fitness Pal. It’s an online FREE weight loss management (counts calories in and calories burned) community. It is wonderful. My brother in law told me about it.

    Couch to 5K (download on your phone or mp3 device, etc…) I will go early or I will go after they are in bed. Would I rather be vegging out? Yes. But if you exercise for enough days/weeks, eventually it will nag at you until you have to exercise most days or you will go crazy.

    Jillian Michaels 30-day shred. It’s not as intense as her other dvds, and it’s designed to help you lose weight in 30 days.

    Biking with my twins in the bike trailer that I bought at Walmart. My older kids bike with me or stay in the house and do school while I go around the neighborhood. (My eldest is 11 and considering I was babysitting other people’s children at that age, I think she can supervise her siblings for 30-45 mins while I bike in the neighborhood.)

    Jog with my twins in the jogging stroller.

    Quit making excuses and do it. :)

  3. Nichole says

    Excellent tips! Shortly after my last pregnancy I had surgery and so had quite a few months where most exercise was out of the table but I made sure to get a full serving of vegetables each day, granted some days all the vegetables were battered and fried-in true southern fashion ;)-but that helped tremendously!

  4. says

    That’s awesome 70 pounds slow and steady is the way to go. I have just found Just Dance for the Wii and I love it. The kids do it with me. Besides getting outside for a walk and bike rides I needed to burn more calories every day and this is just the tool to get me going. Keep up the good work. That 25 will melt away!

  5. says

    Way to go on the weight loss!

    I often get up at 4:45 to get my run in before the children wake up. (I have 5). My oldest two girls watched my younger three once a week while I did a 2.5-3.5 hour long run once a week while training for a marathon. I left the house before the were all awake, but they took care of everyone once they all woke up. Also, I take all of my children to our local park that has a 1/2 mile track and playground. I run while my children either run, play, or both.

    The key is to just do something. And add a little bit more each day. :)

  6. TEaque says

    Great tips! My husband works 48 hour shifts so on his 2 days gone I often take the kids to a playground (it’s fenced in) and run laps around it while they play. Totally makes everyone happy. I also really want to encourage people to read a book called Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. She really spoke to my heart and my food addiction. The basic premise is turning to God NOT food. She’ s hilarious and its an easy read.

  7. says

    Way to go!
    I have found that a treadmill has been an excellent investment. I can run whenever. My older kids can do their independent work while I am on it, and the youngest plays. It works for me!

  8. says

    That is soo awesome! Congrats! Our homeschooling support group has a Couch to 5K group. We meet 2X each week, and a couple of the older girls babysit the younger ones while the moms all run. So life changing–and great fellowship!

  9. says

    My husband and I trade off time — he usually gets up early to run, and after he finishes his day, it’s my turn.

    I’d also recommend having a group you’re connected with – it offers support, plus accountability, as well as a bit of positive peer pressure.

    Plus — let your children know what you’re doing. My kids always check with me when they see me with exercise clothes on –“how far did you run today, mommy? Did you go fast?” I’m setting a good example for them, and it makes me feel so good that they’re noticing, too!

  10. says

    I love my stationary bike! I try to log from an hour to two hours daily on it, in the mornings, while listening to favorite talk radio programs. My biking keeps me in shape for the weekend day hiking my husband and I enjoy doing.

  11. Kimberly says

    Great job on your weight loss!
    I couldn’t agree with you more! Exercising makes me feel great and increases my energy level! It is also a great way to keep the bod young!! 😉
    AND ~ what a great example for our kids! 8)