You read all the tips and hear all of the advice that you need to take care of yourself and exercise. But when it comes to actually doing so, it seems exhausting, doesn’t it?
There are kids to pick up and drop off, endless piles of laundry, errands to run, a house to clean, and dinner battles to be had.
It’d be lovely to work out daily, but during this season, going pee by yourself is a luxury.
So how’s a busy mom supposed to fit movement into her day? Truthfully, one step at a time. And we’ve got 10 tips to help you do just that.
About the Author: Kimberli
Kimberli is a recovering photography nerd that believes moms should feel empowered to support both their families and themselves. Kimberli writes over at Spunk & Tenacity about messy art, literature-rich learning, and why moms need to embrace a quiet daily coffee time to ensure the survival of the human race.
10 Tips for Busy Moms to Fit Movement Into Their Day
The reality is you’re probably too exhausted to think about exercise most days. But that’s probably due to the idea of exercise you have in your head.
Instead of thinking of movement as one long sweat session, find smaller chunks of time throughout your day.
Just like saving your spare change can significantly impact your savings account, short periods of movement throughout your day can dramatically affect your health.
Still not sure where you might fit some steps in your daily routine without investing in a full-time nanny? Take a bit of that pressure off yourself and try a few of these tips until you find something that fits.
1. Put Away Laundry One Shirt At a Time
It might seem silly initially, but put the laundry basket in the laundry room. Then put each item away one at a time.
You can use that same philosophy for bringing in groceries or tidying up.
You’ll stretch a short task out by about 10 minutes.
If you have littles playing in the living room, you’ll still have your eyes on them, your job is getting completed, and you’re getting extra movement in.
2. Streamline Your Cleaning Workflow
This tip is kind of the opposite mentality. It’s more about saving time so you can give some back to yourself.
If you haven’t yet, consider organizing your housecleaning routines. To do so, you’ll need to put on your project manager’s hat.
Analyze how long you’re taking to clean each room by timing yourself, then ask yourself these questions:
- Are your supplies in a different part of the house? Can you put them in a caddy or keep them in the room they’re used in?
- Are you able to launch straight into your cleaning, or are you decluttering first?
- Where could you combine tasks to make your process quicker and more routine?
- Are you continually taking things to a different room that keep coming back? Could they find a home in this room instead?
If you have kids that are old enough, you can have them time you.
You might be surprised where you can shave 5 or 10 minutes off your daily chores when you organize your routine. Then, devote that extra time to doing some yoga or taking a short walk.
3. Tie Your Daily Movement to Something You Love
Are you finding it hard to find time to read? Would you love to be able to drink your coffee while it’s hot?
Commit to a routine where you only listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook while going for a walk, on the treadmill, or moving around the house.
Or, maybe you walk to a friend’s house or wait to have your coffee until you’ve walked around the block twice.
The theory behind this is called “temptation bundling.”
Bundling a goal (like walking around the block twice) with something that you love to do. Your goals are more attainable when you’re pairing them with something indulgent.
The key is to be consistent, only have the reward when you’ve met your goal, and ensure that your “treat” is comparable to your effort. (A new pair of shoes for a ten-minute walk wouldn’t fit those criteria.)
4. Don’t Facebook Sitting Down
Whether gorgeous images consume you on Pinterest or you spend your free time connecting on Facebook, social media is likely a part of your day.
And it’s generally more time than you either realize or want to admit. What if, you made that time walking time?
Just stroll around your house whenever you want to look at your phone.
If you hold yourself accountable for not looking at any social media posts until you’ve had 10 minutes of movement, you might get your steps in no time.
5. Focus On a Single Body Part for 5 Minutes
Decision fatigue is a real problem for moms everywhere. Rather than trying to figure out what you should be working on, create a rotating list of focus areas.
For example, you might spend 5-10 minutes of your fitness time doing leg exercises. Then, allow yourself to be done and set a timer for a few hours later.
When that timer goes off, look at your list to find your next focus area. It’s abs, so down to the floor, you go for ab exercises for 10 minutes.
That cycle repeats throughout the day, and by the end of the day, you’ve had a full-body workout but only had to focus on one area at a time.
6. Make It Social
Do you know any mom that doesn’t drink coffee? I don’t. Coffee is a mom’s best friend. But you know what’s even better? Coffee with your human best friend.
Instead of making your treat a cup of solitary coffee, reward yourself with coffee and a friend.
Let your best friend know that you’re working on building more health into your routine. Ask if they can be both your accountability buddy and your reward.
Schedule a walking coffee date with them each week as your goal for building better self-care in your life through daily movement. Chances are, they’d love to be your walking and your coffee buddy.
7. Play Your Way to Healthy Movement
When was the last time your kiddo didn’t want to go for a walk or play a game of tag?
It’s easy to spend all day with our kids and forget to engage in playful movement while we’re busy keeping them alive and fed.
Life is busy. You’ve got a lot on your plate.
Rather than set yourself up for disappointment when another day goes by with good intentions, set a timer to remind yourself to romp. Then, make that time active.
Maybe that means crawling around pretending you’re a horse. Perhaps that means challenging them to math facts jumping jacks or a game of tag.
When they’re tiny, it might mean strapping them into a wearable and strolling down the block and back. Or playing pirates while having a dance party.
Whatever fits at this stage in their development, remind yourself that you’re helping them build healthy habits. And fitting another little bit of movement into your day.
8. Park Farther Away and Take the Stairs
This one’s an oldy but a goody.
If you’re running errands or commuting to work, try parking at the back of the parking lot and walking farther than necessary. Or, if you work in an office building with multiple floors, opt for the stairs instead of taking the elevator each time.
It’ll get your heart rate up in no time and help you create habits around daily movement into your day.
Be creative and devise other small ways to sneak in extra daily steps while completing routines. Every little bit counts.
9. Do 10 Minutes of Your Workout At a Time
Do you stream any favorite workouts? Maybe you have a Peloton or Beachbody on Demand Subscription.
If it’s overwhelming to commit to an entire workout, science has good news for you. Healthline reports that “Accumulated workout time is as effective as one continuous session.”
Try setting a timer for a portion of your workout. Complete 5-10 minutes, and then move on with your day for an hour or two. After a few cycles of working interspersed with breaks, you’ll have completed your workout.
You’ll need to warm up and cool down every time before you push play, so this isn’t the best way to economize your time.
But if you’re struggling with motivation, three 10-minute intervals might seem more manageable.
10. Set Your Intentions In Ink
When was the last time you attempted something meaningful without a list and a plan? Everything from your meals and grocery list to what you’ll pack for the kids to stay at Grandma’s house is usually planned.
Your health could benefit from some planning as well. Rather than writing down “workout five days a week,” jot down exactly when and what you’ll be doing.
Then, schedule in time to prepare yourself so it’s easier to meet those goals. And, don’t stop by simply noting your workout times. Ensure you also include the results.
You don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment, so steer clear of aggressive weight goals. Instead, note down other perks of including daily movement.
For example, put a note on your planner one month from today. It might say, “Feeling more energy due to including an hour of movement 5 days a week.”
Then, as you’re looking at your calendar, you are reminded of the tangible benefits when movement adds up. And, you’re also reminded that change takes a bit of time.
Fitting Daily Movement In Your Day When You’re Already a Busy Mom
There you have it. Ten ways to fit more daily movement into your day without having to overhaul you’re already packed schedule completely.
Remind yourself that not only do you deserve the time, but it’s essential for your children to see you prioritize yourself occasionally.
16 thoughts on “10 Ways for Busy Moms to Fit Movement Into Their Day”
Having the laundry in the basement makes many trips up and down the stairs daily! Also, I love taking my work lunch hour to workout! 30 minutes to workout 3o min to eat.
I have been parking further away at work and it really does help get extra steps! great ideas in this post!
Yes it does! A simple one, but so effective.
One of my goals for this year is getting back into healthy exercise habits. I’ve heard of some of these before, but some are new to me. Thanks!
I love how you connected movement to play! Fitting exercise and movement into your day can absolutely be in the form of dancing as you do chores, or chasing your toddler around the living room. When we shift the focus from “exercise” to “movement,” we open up so many more possibilities!
Getting more active is definitely one of my goals for this year, so this post is perfect for me! And these tips are practical and achievable! There are several that I’ve been practicing for years with great results and a few others that I’m excited to try – especially walking around while Facebook scrolling. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Brilliant list. I always try to multi-task by watching the news or listening to a podcast while exercising. Love the idea of just focusing on one body part for ten mins to make it more manageable.
These are great, I do 9 a lot. I think people underestimate the power of a short workout burst. It keeps me in shape when I’m insanely. I also do burpees and other quick exercises while I’m cooking. Anywhere I can squeeze it in!
Totally agree Jas; moving in different ways whenever you can is better than doing nothing!
Love number 1, never thought of it!
I hadn’t either! It’s a great idea!
This is great. I just wrote a similar post. I love the laundry idea. I do that! Sort of… I leave the basket in the bedroom and take things only 1-2 at a time through the master bath to the closet.
I love the idea of one piece of laundry at a time. I am going to have to give it a try. And I am the mom who doesn’t like coffee. haha
LOL you aren’t the only mom Emily that doesn’t like coffee! My own mom has never drunk coffee! I love the laundry idea too it’s a great way to increase your movement while doing something you need to do anyway!
These are amazing and totally achievable tips! I’m not a mom yet but still a busy working wife, and I will definitely be implementing some of these!
Thanks Makayla! I agree these are great ideas no matter what type of busy woman you are (mom or not!). Thanks for reading and commenting!