How Can Busy Parents Find Time to Work Out?

Dad and boy doing push-ups by Michele Westmorland, Getty Images
Find time to work out by getting kids involved.. Michele Westmorland / Getty Images

It's hard to think about adding "exercise" to your crazy busy schedule—I know. But I promise you have time to work out if you change the way you look at it. It's true, hitting the gym or even taking a yoga class can easily be a two-hour event. It's not easy to find a hole that big in your daily schedule, especially if you have a paying job in addition to your parenting job, or if you have kids with busy schedules of their own, or if you're doing everything solo.

So finding that time to work out boils down to two strategies: You either take the kids with you, or you look for ways to multi-task and squeeze in mini-opportunities to exercise.

Find Time to Work Out By Bringing Kids Along

  • Join a gym with a child care room.
  • Take a parent-child class such as karate or yoga.
  • Modify your favorite workout so that your child can join in, or at least ride along.
  • Set up a babysitting/workout co-op with friends (like a private version of the gym's nursery). Meet at one family's home or at a playground, and swap workout time with kid-wrangling duties.

Grab Short Chunks of Workout Time

  • Try the 10-10-10 exercise plan: 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
  • Walk or bike to work or school or when doing errands.
  • Remember the old stand-bys: Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park at the far end of the lot; and so on.
  • They play, you sweat: Walk briskly around the playground's perimeter while your kids hang out in the middle, or do lunges and squats while refereeing in the family room.
  • Multitask. Do crunches, planks, or push-ups while you watch TV (or, as I used to, while you're stuck in a dark room with a kid who won't fall asleep without you nearby).

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