Running isn’t just a way to stay in shape. Exercise boosts endorphins, which helps mitigate stress and improve your mood. A running routine can also help a busy parent stay focused.1 When you’re juggling the demands of a growing family, that focus can be the difference between needing support and finding balance.
With all you have on your plate, how can you find time to run – and stick to it? These tips can help you balance a workout schedule, your family and your well-being.
1. Figure out a schedule that works for you
You may not need to wake up at 4 a.m. to squeeze in your run before you get ready for work or make school lunches, but you will have a better chance of sticking to a routine if you find regular days and times to dedicate to it.2 Maybe that’s 30 minutes on the treadmill after you get off work, or perhaps weekend mornings are your go-to running days.
Ask your partner for help with the household chores and child care so you can dedicate time to your run. Perhaps he or she can take on morning drop-offs or after-school pick-ups so you get some time to focus on yourself and your health.
2. Steal running time when you find it
If you’re crunched for time, remember you don’t have to do the entire run at once. You might break up a 30-minute run into 15-minute increments on busy days.2 For example, you could get 15 minutes on the treadmill in the morning and another 15 after the children have gone to bed.
3. Include the children in your run
On busy days, see if you can incorporate your child into your workout schedule. This shows them the importance of exercise, gives you quality time together and helps them burn off some energy.
If you have young children, you may invest in a jogging stroller. If you have concerns about how a stroller may impact the motion of the body, advocates say it doesn’t limit motion in the ankles or knees.2
If your child can ride a bike, encourage them to ride along beside you while you run.3 You can also take your child to a local track with you so they can play outside in a secure area while you complete your run.
4. Find a gym with child care
Instead of paying for a babysitter to watch the children while you get your workout in, consider putting that money toward a gym that offers child care. Your children get a chance to play and socialize, and you get to mix up your exercise routine.2
5. Plan ahead
Balancing work, life and exercise comes down to saving time whenever you can. So plan ahead. Try selecting outfits for yourself and the children for the whole week, which cuts down on time spent getting ready each day. Consider dedicating time on Sundays to meal prepping for the entire week. The minutes you save may add up to the time you need to squeeze in a daily run.
When juggling the competing demands of your daily life, it’s easy to deprioritize exercise, but working out can only help boost your wellness.1 It’s good for your emotional and physical health, and that benefits your family and work life, too.
1 8 Key Ways Running Can Transform Your Body and Brain, Business Insider, 2018.
2 How Parents Can Find Time to Run, Very Well Family, 2018.
3 6 Tips for Balancing Workout Time with Family Time, Active Kids, 2018.
ALIC44319 (exp. 4/20)