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Finding Time to Exercise Is Easier Than You Think

Photograph by Twenty20

A few months ago, a friend of mine coordinated a “Mom Bod Challenge” for a handful of mamas. We had been lamenting about our need for motivation to get our exercise on and good ol’ camaraderie, and a $10 buy-in was just the ticket many of us needed to get moving.

At eight months postpartum, I set three goals for myself: walk or run daily, drink 100 ounces of water each day and significantly curb my sweet tooth — #justsaynotobrownies. Simple and strategic.

I purposefully did not attach weight loss to my goal. For me, losing weight while breastfeeding was not the objective. My goal was to be healthier, intentionally.

I had one big worry: How would I find the time to exercise? As a WAHM of four, I knew this would be my biggest hurdle.

But, I did it. Because moms are rockstars, and we can totally do hard and seemingly impossible things. I “found” time—more like reprioritized and reallocated time—and got my buns moving.

It’s been four months since I kicked off my exercise routine. While it wasn't easy, it has been doable. I want you to know that I’m no athlete and have no history of workout success. Exercise does not come easily to me. But, I chose it and now I’m reaping the benefits. I even had a really awesome victory recently—an under-30-minute 5K!

If you’re ready for the perks of exercising, but wonder how to fit it in to your already busy life, here are a few tips that helped me start and keep up on my routine.

Start in the Morning

There’s something about starting the day with movement that makes the whole rest of the day go smoother.

I’m normally one to lounge in bed with the kids in the morning—read a story, watch a cartoon or let them nibble on a bowl of cereal—but, when I kicked off my daily walk/run plan, I told myself that once the kids woke, I needed to too. Trading lazy mornings for moving mornings not only helped me reach my goal, it made the rest of my day more productive.

Schedule exercise just like any other appointment. Give it a time and a place.

Keep a Calendar

Schedule exercise just like any other appointment. Give it a time and a place. Then, stick to your commitment!

I also like to keep a special workout calendar. Just a free monthly printable where I can chart my progress each day. At the end of the Mom Bod Challenge, I had eight weeks of daily activity that added up to 118 miles—118!

Bring Your Kids Along

For the longest time, my kids were my excuse. How was I supposed to exercise with four kiddos around? Well, I tabled that excuse and brought them along. Not every time, sometimes I ran in the evenings when my husband got home from work, but more often than not, we were all out together—the big kids on bikes or scooters and the little boys in my double jogger.

Stop Trying to Be Fancy

You do not need an expensive gym membership or a Lululemon yoga outfit to exercise and exercise well. I literally ran laps down our street and around the cul-de-sac. Boring? Nope. Because I used my run time as my audiobook or podcast time! Win-win.

Finding time to exercise, for me, meant cutting a commute and childcare check-in and all that extra stuff. We rolled out of the garage and were back in 30-40 minutes. Done and done.

Just Do It

Generally, I find time for things that are important to me. Last spring, exercise became important. Now, I do it. It’s that simple. If you decide that exercise is important, you’ll get it done too.

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