Getting Exercise as a Busy Homemaker

I’ve noticed that exercise occupies a precarious position in the minds of many women I know. Some shun it because they view it as vain, believing it is only a means of losing weight to become more attractive. Others worship it, spending hours each week pushing themselves to extremes to prove they are stronger than their aching muscles. Still others avoid it all together, ignoring health messages because they enjoy the immediate comfort of the couch more than the work that will cause a gradual improvement in their health.

Is it really important for busy homemakers to find time to exercise? It is! Read on to find out why and to learn strategies for making time to exercise.

Personally, I’ve made exercise a regular part of my life because I’m well aware of the benefits associated with it. However, since becoming a mom, it has been increasingly difficult to find time to exercise.

Given we already have so much to do, is it really important to make room in our schedules for exercise? What role should exercise play in the lives of busy homemakers?

Exercise and the homemaker

As I noted at the beginning of this post, women have varied views of the purpose of exercise. In my opinion, exercise is about health (decreased risk of heart disease and several cancers, stronger bones, easier weight control, decreased stress and anxiety, etc.). It’s not about looking good or proving we’re tough—it’s about caring for the bodies God gave us. Homemakers aren’t somehow exempt from the need to exercise. We benefit from it as much as anyone else and exercising is one way we can model a healthy lifestyle for our children.

Interestingly, I feel like I’m actually a better homemaker when I get regular exercise. Why? Because I feel less stressed and have more energy. This means I’m patient with my daughter and husband and I’m able to tackle my to-do lists.

Even with so much else to do, I believe exercise is important enough that we should make time for it.

Making time for exercise

  • Put it on the calendar. We put important things—dental visits, parent-teacher conferences, parties, etc.—on our calendars. If exercise is important, then it needs to be scheduled, too. After all, it’s rare that we engage in spontaneous workouts. We’re much more likely to exercise when time is set aside for it.
  • Exercise by playing with the kids. Playing with our children is a great way to get some exercise. A good game of tag is almost guaranteed to get your heart pumping! Other possibilities include going on walks or bike rides, climbing playground equipment, dancing, playing organized sports, and jumping on a trampoline.
  • Exercise in short spurts. Experts say that we don’t have to exercise for long durations. It’s okay if our exercise is spread throughout the week (“ten minutes at a time is fine”), as long as we get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week. There are so many ways we can sneak in a few minutes of exercise here and there (do a few crunches before getting in the shower, park at the far end of the parking lot when shopping, do squats while cooking dinner, do a 10 or 15 minute exercise DVD, etc.).
  • Plan exercise playdates. It’s often easier to exercise when we have the fellowship and accountability of workout partners. We can get this by using our kids’ playdates as opportunities to exercise! While the kids play, we moms can get in a workout.
  • Take advantage of housekeeping tasks. Many housekeeping activities constitute moderate-intensity physical activity, making it a useful way to supplement exercise activities. There are a number of ways we can boost the intensity of housework, thereby increasing its physical fitness benefits (click here for ideas). Not convinced that housework can supplement other exercise activities? Consider that each of these homemaking tasks burns 100 calories:25 Homemaking Tasks That Burn 100 Calories
  • Invest in some basic home exercise equipment. We don’t need special equipment to exercise. In fact, walking, an activity that really only requires supportive shoes, provides an excellent workout. However, sometimes it is easier to reach physical fitness goals when we have access to exercise equipment. One way to get this access is to join a gym. Another is to purchase some basic equipment for the home. My husband and I have chosen the latter option. A folding exercise bike, a yoga mat, adjustable weights (hand and ankle), and a weight bench allow me to do some light weight training and aerobic exercise whenever I have a few free minutes.

Have you found a way to fit exercise into your busy schedule? How do you do this?

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Shared on the following link-ups:

Blog Fair Link Party, Titus 2sday, Teach Me Tuesday, Motivation Monday, Making Your Home Sing, Saturday Soiree, Weekend Wind Down and Shine Blog Hop.


  1. I was 20-30lbs overweight when we married but now, after a child, I am closer to 50. Since I am only 5’3″ and we have diabetes and cholesterol issues in my family, that is a big deal. Plus, being honest, I’d like to look nicer for my husband. 😉 Within the last few weeks I have discovered that it is easiest for me to exercise during afternoon nap/rest time. Over the years I’ve been hit or miss with the exercise. By putting my three year old down for nap then going straight to changing into my exercise clothes, I’m finally making it happen. I had to stop listening to all the “exercise in the morning” advice. I failed most the time. You just have to do what works for you. 🙂 #ShineBlogHop

    • Hi Julie,
      Absolutely! There is no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to exercise. If nap time works for you, then go for it! I’m still trying to figure out what works best…sometimes it changes from one week to the next!

  2. I’ve gotten really bad with exercise now that I have 3 kids. But I really want to get back to doing it regularly. One thing that I’ve found that helps is to include the kids in exercise. You mentioned playing with them, but even going on walks while pushing them in the stroller or letting them join you in exercise videos (they think it’s great to try to do the exercises) makes a big difference in whether or not I actually get it done.

    • Great ideas, Lydia. My daughter loves being pushed in the stroller (or perhaps she just likes to be where she can see everything going on around her). Regardless, going on walks is working for us right now. Doing exercise videos together sounds really fun, too!

  3. These are such great tips! I used to have a treadmill and exercised regularly but we didn’t have room for it in our new house and the gym was just too expensive. I really need to get back into exercise again because it makes me feel so good when I do it!
    Visiting from Saturday Soiree

    • Hi Lisa,
      It really does make you feel good, doesn’t it? Sometimes it is hard to get started, but knowing that feeling is coming is great motivation. 🙂

  4. Hey Shannon, you are so right. Exercise is very important to continued health, but finding time after you have kids is crazy. As you mentioned, I try to play with my daughter. I go for walks and runs while she is in ballet and I got a trailer for my bike so we can ride together. Visiting from the Weekend Wind Down link up.

  5. Your post was encouraging for me, as I am currently trying to get healthier and lose about 25 pounds. My biggest downfall is consistency- I will be very enthusiastic for a few days with exercise, then it falls by the wayside until something prompts me again (like getting a sore back). Thank you for the reminder 🙂

    • Hi Gwen,
      This seems really common. Kind of like when you make a New Year’s resolution, but only keep it for a few weeks (or a few days). I think it’s important to find something that really works for your lifestyle to try to achieve consistency.

  6. Great to know that we are burning calories while doing the housework! It’s hard to fit everything in to the day so it’s good to think outside the box a bit and get health benefits from activities that may not be considered ‘exercise’. Thanks for sharing with the #BlogFair. Hope you can visit again this week – opening soon!

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