Making Exercise A Priority As A Busy Parent

I meant to exercise today but…

Insert excuse.

Or better yet, one of my kids came down with a cough and now I can’t go to the gym unless I infect all the kids in the daycare.

Sound familiar?

As a parent, I find that this is happening to me than I’d like to admit. Personally, I feel better when I am moving. Whether it be a short run, a HIIT workout, or even a brisk walk outside, I function better with routine exercise.

So, in order to do that and make exercise a priority as a busy mom, I follow some basic principals that help me to stick to my fitness routine. When the time change comes and daylight hours are cut short, I find myself easily losing motivation and in turn, having to shift my thinking.

How to Make Exercise a Priority as A Busy Parent:

Find time to fit it in, if you can’t… MAKE time

Every parent knows that with babies and kids comes juggling schedules. However, just as managing their schedules is important, so are you and your exercise routine! Look at your calendar, write your workouts down each day (even if it’s tentative). Writing something down makes you more likely to complete a workout. Try to plan ahead each week.

Choose exercises you actually enjoy

If you don’t look forward to it, you are less likely to be motivated to actually do it. Do you despise running? Welp, don’t start there. Interested in yoga? Try that instead. Don’t feel like you have to fall in love with CrossFit because all of your friends are obsessed. Choose activities that interest and motivate you. If a calm walk on the bike path is more your scene, go for it.

making exercise a priority as a busy parent

No excuses

This might be the hardest thing to do. It takes discipline and self-control. “It’s dark early in the morning.” “It’s too cold to be outside running in the winter.” “I am too tired and bored.” Whatever the excuse, try to set it aside and change your mindset. Instead of saying to yourself, “I am too tired”, replace that thought with “if I get in a quick workout, I will feel so much better afterward.” I’ve never gotten back from a run and regretted it, EVER. Even if I started out dragging and wishing I was home, laying on the couch, I didn’t regret moving my body in the end.

Change your MINDSET

Focus on having a positive outlook. Tell yourself, “My body is healthy, I can do this!” or “These legs can move, let’s use them!” The power of positive thinking can go a long way!

Start Small

Nobody ran a marathon without a little training! Start with a short walk, then add 3 minutes of running. Walk again. Slowly work up to a workout that is comfortable for you and until you build some stamina and you can really start to push yourself. Sometimes just showing up to the gym is good enough. Then come back the next day and walk on the treadmill (wink, wink).

making exercise a priority as a busy parent

Workout WITH your kids

Huh? I thought this time was supposed to be about me? Well, it is. But if your day doesn’t allow for you to go solo, get your kids involved. Walk or jog while your kids ride their bike. Walk to a park, stop and do a few stroller squats. Not only will everyone benefit, but your kids will also see you being active and learn from that!

Be accountable

Give yourself a little street cred. New habits take time to create. If you complete a workout, celebrate, check it off your calendar and reward yourself! Feeling daring and a little competitive? You can even sync some fitness watches now to share your activity with friends and family. If you see that your sister has got a workout in, well, you might kick it up a notch.

Pass the time

Make yourself a good playlist or find a good podcast/audiobook to pass the time. Put on a show while you ride the bike at the gym. Whatever it is, enjoy it!

You deserve to feel good. Start small and soon the little things will become big, healthy, life long habits.