With job and family obligations, plus a mile-long to-do list, finding time to exercise proves difficult for many working parents. But taking the time to work out helps you to be more present with your family and more productive at your job.

After all, exercise increases energy, focus and helps improve your mood. Not sure how to fit exercise into your busy schedule? Learn how to stretch your time to make it work.


1. Exercise in the Morning

I find the easiest thing to do is wake up before anyone else on the planet to get my workout in before the day starts. That time in the morning belongs entirely to me. My kids aren’t awake; work isn’t calling. I enjoy starting my day this way. Even though waking up early is difficult, I’ve never been sorry once the workout is over. Making the decision to exercise is always worth it in the end.

In order to wake up so early in the morning, I make sure I’m in bed by 10 p.m. so I get at least seven hours of sleep. That means not wasting those evening hours we consider relaxation time. By exercising in the morning, I boost my energy and my metabolism throughout the day.  


2. Exercise in Small Increments

Not a morning person? That’s OK. Research shows that three 10-minute bouts of exercise throughout the day provides the same metabolic and cardiovascular benefits as a full 30-minute workout. If you sit down and map out your day in 15 or 30-minute increments, you will find multiple little spaces of time that you aren’t using. For example:

  • Walk 10 minutes on your lunch hour

  • Walk 10 minutes in the parking lot before you hop in your car to drive home

  • Take your dog for a 10-minute walk

3. Build A Home Gym

The ability to exercise at home can be very beneficial for parents. You don’t have to worry about taking the kids with you or finding a babysitter. After you’re done working out, the shower is only steps away. Having a home gym really works for me. Not having to pack a gym bag or make it to a fitness class at a certain time smooths out my morning routine.

Now this doesn’t mean you need to invest in $10,000 worth of home exercise equipment. Find what works for you, whether that’s a treadmill, a set of weights or a workout video.


4. Make Exercise Work For You

Find ways to make exercise work with your schedule. If you have younger kids you need to keep an eye on, strap them into a stroller and go for a walk. Take the stroller to the grocery store or run other nearby errands.

Taking your children to the playground? Walk laps around the equipment while they play. You can get miles in while your children are having fun! If you have older children in sports or after-school activities, you don’t need to sit in your car and wait for practice to be over. Drop them off at the soccer field, then walk while the team runs drills.


5. Keep Workout Clothes in the Car

If for whatever reason something changes in your schedule, keeping exercise clothes and a pair of running shoes on hand helps you use the unexpected time productively. This can also motivate you to go to the gym on the way home from work. You have already packed your clothes and made a commitment after all.

Exercising supports your mental and physical health. It reduces the risk for heart attack, stroke and congenital heart failure. It helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The benefits are innumerable. You can’t go wrong if you’re working out on a regular basis. They key is to look at your schedule and find those little blocks of idle time in which you can sneak in exercise.

If you feel you need help working exercise into your daily routine, please contact me at Olp Family Medicine of Carmel, and I can help you find the time to work out. Call me at 317-343-0611 or email info@olpfamilymedicine.com.

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