Managing family life can make it difficult to find time for yourself. Whether you want to pick up a hobby, spend time with friends, or schedule a much-needed date night, it’s not always easy to fit everything in when you have a busy household schedule. But it’s crucial to find time to exercise.
Regular exercise keeps you fit, promotes good mental health, and helps you take a little time for yourself. It’s an important part of any lifestyle – so here’s how you can find time to exercise, even in the busiest of schedules.
Find an activity you enjoy
Finding an activity you enjoy is key to maintaining momentum in your exercise routine. Whether you prefer a high-energy HIIT class, a steady jog through your local green space, or a calming yoga practice, there are so many types of exercise out there that you’re sure to find one that works for you. And if you choose an activity you look forward to, you’re more likely to make time for it, giving you the impetus to make it part of your weekly routine.
Work on someone else’s schedule
Sign up for classes in advance. There are always plenty of classes running at local gyms, as well as independent studios, from swimming sessions to pilates workouts to spin classes. Most places will allow you to make block bookings, which means you can book in early and plan your schedule for the next few weeks. Booking early allows you to fit your workout in around your childcare and work commitments – and it means you’ll gain movement momentum to improve your fitness.
It’s well-known that exercising as a twosome can improve motivation, which in turn will help motivate you to make time for exercise. Plus, it’s fun, sociable, and great for concentration. If your workout partner already has a routine that works for them, you can tag along on their schedule. If not, figure out a plan that works for both of you. Many towns also have local running groups that you can join for free or a nominal fee.
Exercise early or late
While many exercise classes take place during the day, some gyms open early and close late, offering early morning and late-night classes for those with daytime commitments. Exercising at this hour means there’s no time limit on your workout, so you can go at your own pace. It also means you won’t get distracted by kids or work, so it’s a great option if you want to make a little more time for yourself.
Fit a workout into your lunch hour
Whether you work from home or in the office, your lunch hour is a great time to work out. At home, you can practice yoga, take an online class, or head out for a quick run in your local area. If you’re in the office, sign up for a gym or pool membership at a spot nearby, where you can have a quick midday exercise session (and a shower before you head back to work). It’s a great way to fit in a workout without eating into your family time.
Take every opportunity to get active
If you’re serious about making time to exercise, don’t miss any opportunities to work out. Whether that means taking the stairs, cycling to work, or walking to the shops, say yes to every chance you get to boost your heart rate. It’s a great way to keep moving, and make the most of the mini pockets of time you have without setting aside hours at a time for exercise.
Take the kids with you
If you have younger children, your buggy is invaluable when it comes to finding time to exercise. Take the little ones out for a long walk or even a run, bringing the pushchair along with you. The added energy needed to push a buggy is sure to amp up your workout. If you enjoy cycling, you can also get junior bike seats to mount on your bike, making this another great option for including your family in your exercise time.
Eat for energy
Boost your motivation for exercise with food that energises you. Foods full of simple carbohydrates – such as chocolate and white bread – can make you feel lethargic, so you’re less likely to want to exercise. Instead, choose fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and wholewheat bread. These nourishing foods are way more likely to help you feel energised, preparing your body to get active – so you’ll want to find time to burn some energy.
Ask a friend to watch the kids
If you’re a sole parent, it may be worth asking a friend or family member to come round to watch the kids while you go for a run or nip to the gym. You can even set up a mutual arrangement, where you agree to babysit one another’s kids for an hour a week, so both of you can take a little extra time for yourselves while leaving the little ones with someone you trust.
Stick to your routine
The most important element of any routine is having the willpower to stick to it. When you’ve found an exercise schedule that works for you, try to make sure you can follow it most weeks. Whether that means setting up a regular babysitting schedule or getting up early every day, sticking to your routine is a great way to make sure you can regularly find time to exercise.
Finding time to work out isn’t always easy – but if you can find ways to keep fit in your day-to-day life, you’re likely to feel healthier and happier. Get more inspiration for how to stay active in our fitness resources.