10 ways to fit in exercise with kids underfoot!

A Mom who feels good physically is better able to handle the stresses of life.  Being physically fit promotes happiness and confidence and also gives you energy!

Finding the time to exercise with little ones around can be a challenge.  Here are a few suggestions for exercising with little ones at home. Some you have probably tried already. Hopefully there will be a few news ones to motivate you!

1.  Get it done first thing in the morning

Exercising in the morning is a great way to start the day.  Not only does it give you energy, but it gets the task out of the way.  Circumstances can’t cause you to miss your workout, because it is already done.  If you can get up before the kids wake, that is the perfect time.

If you have super early risers and are unable (or unwilling) to beat them out of bed, have them stay in their rooms until a specified time or create a signal that lets them know it is time to leave their bedroom…I read about one Mom who slips a piece of paper under the door with a note telling them it’s time to come out.  Or you could simply knock on the door and say, “Time to come out now.”

2.  After the kids are in bed at night (if they have an early bed time – or you are a night owl).

I can’t do this one, but everyone is wired differently and some come alive at night.  If that’s you, then use some of your energy to workout.

3.  While the kids are occupied.

I don’t recommend allowing the kids to just play together while you workout if they are fairly young.  I tried this a few times and had to pause the workout over and over to deal with arguments, or injuries (my son ran into a wall) J Putting on a 30 minute DVD for them to watch is fine.  Especially if they don’t watch much television – they will be glued to the spot!

4.  During nap time/quiet time.

Dressing in your workout gear early in the day and being ready to go at nap time or quiet time can work very well.  I have done this recently.  My baby is still young and taking two naps a day.  During her afternoon nap the other kids have quiet time and I do a 30-40 minute workout. By quiet time, I mean each child is in his/her own room or space with something quiet to do.

5.  Trade childcare with another Mom or have Dad or Grandma watch the kids.

This could be done once a week for a longer time of focused exercise, or more frequently with shorter workouts.

6.  Put the kids in stroller and go for a walk/run

Pack a snack for them and some water and get outside.  The fresh is good for everyone!

7.  Exercise with the kids.

One set of DVDs I have been able to use with the kids is the Walk Away the Pounds series by Leslie Sansone.  I usually prefer a more strenuous workout, but when I want to do something the kids can do, I pick this one ( I use the Walk Slim
workouts).  I can always add ankle and wrist weights to make it more intense.  Or do it with the baby in the ergo carrier :)

You can also simply pump up the music and dance around. Kids love it.

8.  Do short exercises throughout the day.

This one works in theory, but I have not tried it yet.  I figure if you designate specific days for specific muscle groups, write down or find a list of exercises for those muscle groups and post in on the fridge, you could work through the list as the day goes on.  Doing a few sets here and there.  I think this could work quite well for strength training exercises.

9.  Integrate exercise into daily life.

Do stomach vacuums (pulling your belly button toward the spine and holding it there) while cooking dinner?  Stand on your tip toes while brushing your teeth.  Do calf raises while washing your hair. If you watch t.v., do push-ups during the commercials.  But proceed with caution; I think you can see how this couldeasily go wrong!

10.  Let go of the all-or-nothing mentality

If you plan to workout in the morning but sleep in and miss it, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something else. It is usually possible to fit in some sort of physical activity.  It may not be the kind you really want to do, but something will work.  Any exercise is better than no exercise.

I have let this happen to me many times.  Especially when I am completing some sort of workout DVD series.  The DVD runs for a specific time period, if that time period is not available to me, I have often done nothing.  That is when the all-or-nothing mentality is really doing me a disservice.  So, do what you can.  Look for opportunities, and you will find them.

How do you fit in exercise with young children at home?   What would you add to this list?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We are THAT Family.

Links to amazon.com are affiliate links.


  1. I am so glad I came across your list today! I’ll be having my first baby in September, and am DETERMINED to lose the baby weight as quickly as I can. Thank you for this list! I will be bookmarking it and referring back to it quite often!

    • Yay! I’m glad you are excited about it. I forgot to add that when my babies were still young I often worked out to DVDs while they were in the swing or exersaucer. My daughter was often laughing at my yoga poses, even at the age of 5 months old!

      In the early days of motherhood, it often felt good to get outside and walk around. Either with the baby in a stroller, sling , or carrier.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly!

  2. Great post! I am going to link to in in my weekend round up this Saturday!

  3. Wow, you don’t need to be shy about promotion with posts like this!


  4. Great tips!
    Will try to enforce them after this baby boy is born!
    Thanks so much!


  5. Oooh this is what I need! I had bookmarked your post and stumble it too! :D Thanks for sharing.

  6. I just love how you have added your daughter’s drawings to your blog. That is such an awesome idea. I bet my 9-yr old son would LOVE to be able to do that, as I often find him drawing when he should be working on his math! lol

  7. Oh, so there are other children who prefer to draw than do math!

    My daughter really does love drawing for my blog. I give her little assignments. She even writes instructions for me. Like where to cut the picture off etc.
    She is somewhat obsessed with drawing and writing and really wants to be an Mother/artist/writer when she grows up! Seeing her work online is extremely fun for her. I’m sure your son would get a kick out of it too. Let me know if he draws anything for your blog. I’d love to see it.

  8. These are great tips! I have two related to #8:
    *We hung a chin-up bar just above head height in our narrow upstairs hallway. It’s great to hang or pull up on for just a few seconds at a time…and seeing it as we come up the stairs reminds us!
    *Balancing on an exercise ball is a great way to strengthen your abs, even in short sessions.

    We also get a lot of exercise at the playground. Swinging is great for the abs and hamstrings. I like climbing around the equipment in directions you’re not “supposed” to go but I can because I’m bigger than a kid–although of course I have to be careful not to set a bad example for kids more daring than mine!

    My best tip for working in exercise is to walk everywhere possible. We live in a very walkable neighborhood now, but when I was growing up in suburbia my family routinely walked to places up to 2 miles away if there was any safe way to do it–we often walked on grassy shoulders or back edges of parking lots where there were no sidewalks, but hey, that’s an adventure!

    • ‘Becca – I appreciate you taking the time to share your tips.

      I especially like your suggestion for walking everywhere possible. Before our recent move I did that a lot. I don’t feel quite as safe doing so now. BUT, I can still park further way from the doors at the store and take the stairs in stead of the escalator. Not quite as effective as walking a mile to a friend’s house, but still worthwhile.

      Love the chin-up bar idea too. I’m all for making things as convenient as possible!

      I’m off to check out your links.

  9. Fantastic list! Yes, I’m with you…DVD or episode works best b/c I’ve tried to have them engaged in an activity only to be yelling from the elliptical machine “stop that!” or “can’t you see I’m exercising!?”. Great job on your list post!

  10. I’ve been going for a walk right after dinner, while DH cleans up the dinner dishes. And/or I make sure I get out and walk during my lunch our. And your No. 9. But I’ve been looking for more ways to fit in more exercise.

  11. I never wake up early since my youngest still wakes up for feedings at 2am and 5am so I do it while my wild 16 month old is napping or I just take the chance and workout while they are all awake.

    Sometimes I exercise my legs while washing dishes or something by doing Plies.

    I sometimes use my kids as weights. I have a 3 year old, 16 month old and 4 month old so I get to try different weight classes lol

  12. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and
    the rest of the site is really good.

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