One of the biggest things I hear from moms is that they struggle with finding time for physical fitness. Usually it comes down to do things: they’re either too tired or busy to exercise.

Mom exercising with child - How to Exercise When You're Too Tired or Busy
I get it. I really do. Moms are often pulled in many different directions, and it can be hard to find 5 minutes to go to the bathroom alone, let alone get in a full workout.

So what’s a mom to do when she’s too tired or busy to exercise?

I’ve got a few ideas, simply based on what has worked for me. And lest you think I am perfect at this, let me tell you – it’s an ongoing process.

Sometimes I’m super consistent with my exercise, and sometimes a full week goes by without a workout. The key is not giving up on this goal, because there truly are so many benefits to staying active physically!


  1. Reframe your view of exercise.
  2. We typically think of exercise as one defined, fairly limited, set of activities. It involves going to the gym, or to an exercise class, or perhaps putting in a DVD and following along. It involves getting dressed appropriately, putting on sneakers, and having plenty of water available. (Sounds like a lot of work, right?)

    I’d like to propose that you can reframe your view of exercise. It CAN be any of the things above, and all of those things are good and have their place.

    But you can also expand your view of exercise to include simply taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Exercise can be playing a game of tag with your child in the backyard. It can be meeting a friend and going for a hike.

    Expanding your view of exercise might help you to be more aware of the little opportunities you have in each day to do it.

    [bctt tweet= “Expanding your view of exercise might help you to be more aware of the little opportunities you have in each day to do it.”]

  3. Include your kids.
  4. If you struggle with finding time to exercise without the kids around, do it WITH them. Many moms have found creative ways to excerise with their kiddos. Get creative!

    Maybe you won’t be doing the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred with your 3 year old, but you can definitely do some lunges, squats, and pushups.

    Kids learn quickly, and they pick up on watching our habits. As you demonstrate the moves, they will usually join in and follow along. Or, if they’re like my child, they’ll make a chart and rate your efforts.

  5. Get up before the kids are awake.
  6. You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear it again: One way that I keep my sanity as a mom is to get up earlier than my child. I don’t always do my workout first thing, but when I do, I typically have more energy all day.

    If you can manage to get up and workout before your kids are up, that’s a great way to start the day!

  7. Do quick workouts.
  8. For a long time, I thought a workout needed to be at least 30-60 minutes long to be effective. I would load up my bag, drive to the gym, hop on the treadmill, do weights, etc.

    However, I discovered the concept of HIIT workouts, which are typically 12-15 minutes long. I also learned that I could do them right at home! This is a HUGE for moms.

    [bctt tweet= “Moms, want to workout in 12 minutes and then be done for the day?”]

    Granted, you don’t want to jump into HIIT if you are completely out of shape. But you can always modify the moves, and you an also work your way up to this.

    Even if you don’t do HIIT, you can do a simple short workout that involves no weights. Set your timer for 12 minutes and do as many rounds of it as you can within that time frame. Don’t worry about speed of the moves – focus on form and slow movements.

    Not sure where to start for this kind of workout? I’ve got you covered!

    For some workout ideas, follow my “Get Movin” board on Pinterest!

  9. Use a jump rope!
  10. This is actually one of my favorite fitness tools! I never realized how much you could sweat by simply jumping rope.

    It may take you a while to get into it, but you can definitely burn a lot of calories by using a jump rope. This is a great skill for young kids to learn, too – so grab a kids rope and have your kiddo jump along side you (just make sure there’s enough space for both of you)!

  11. Get outside.
  12. There is SO much you can do for exercise outdoors that doesn’t have to feel like exercise. Going for a walk and taking in all the sights and sounds of your neighborhood can be fun for the kids and healthy for you. Even if you don’t walk super fast, it’s better than nothing!

    Going for a hike is another great option. In the summer, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. Biking, canoeing, rock climbing – these are all things you can try out as a family, and you may find something that you all really enjoy. Before you know it, you’re exercising while having fun!

If you have felt too tired or busy to exercise, just start small.

Choose one of the suggestions above this week and give it a try. Don’t try to do it all! Just pick ONE thing, and choose ONE day to do it. Then, try one of the other suggestions. Find what works for you!

[bctt tweet=”If you have felt too tired or too busy to exercise, just start small.”]

I’ll admit, there are days that I don’t feel like doing the full exercise routine with my workout clothes, sneakers, and getting all sweaty. But I can definitely get outside and go for a walk, or do a yoga video with my daughter. And usually, after doing something physical, I have MORE energy than I did before.

The problem with not doing anything at all is that it continues the cycle of being too tired or busy to exercise. But when you can jump-start your system and do just ONE thing, you can start to recognize what a difference it can make in your health and physical wellness.