5 Tips To Help You Organise Time To Exercise

finding time for exercise

One of the most common goals set each new year is to find more time for exercise. It then often goes that the for the first month, the gyms are crowded with people carrying out their new year’s resolutions, but by about now the numbers are dwindling as the busyness of life creeps in and exercise gets shelved.

I am one of those people who loves exercise and exercises 6- 7 times a week. But I wasn’t always like this. In fact, I have actually exercised more regularly and become fitter with each child we have had – we have five.

The key reason for this is that exercising for me was the one hour in the day when I would not have to be responsible for lovely little people! With a partner who works longish hours and plays sport himself, I would look forward to my time out and the re-energised feeling I would receive from undertaking physical activity.

But fitting time for my exercise into our weekly routine didn’t just happen, it was something we had to work out and it has been a gradual process to reach where I am today. If you are having trouble finding time for exercise, try these simple steps:

1. Start small

I didn’t go from 0 – 7 days of exercise a week. I committed myself to three days a week to start with. I felt this was achievable for our family. It can be disheartening if you aim too high too soon and fail miserably. It is better to start realistically with what you can do and then build up to the ideal scenario.

2. Bring the family on board

When I first started wanting to go to the gym regularly, I determined the three nights I wanted to go. However, what happend in reality was at least once, if not twice a week, I would get a last minute call from my husband saying he would have to work later and would not be able to make it home at the time we had aimed for.

This caused me a great deal of frustration. So I sat down with him and worked out what time across his week could he give me with certainty. Evenings were not it, so we went to mornings. This worked much better for both of us. Naturally there are times when he has to head into the office early, but he will give me as much notice as possible, so I can fit in exercise at another time.

I talked about my exercise times  with the kids . Our kids are early risers, so this meant them adjusting to waking up without me there three mornings a week when I first started. The littlest one did find this challenging for the first couple of weeks, but he settled into it soon. Even now, one of my favourite moments of my day is seeing his gorgeous face peering out the door to greet me as I come in from my session.

3. Be prepared

Early morning exercise was a new thing for me and I had many false starts and snoozes through the alarm. Scurrying around in the dark trying not to wake small children, but find my gym towel, etc were things that happened and at times prevented me from heading out of the door on time to catch my class.

So I started getting everything ready the night before. It made such a difference and not just because I didn’t have to search for my things; it was good mental preparation before I went to bed each night.

4. Be disciplined

Exercising regularly is less about motivation and more about discipline. You need to take a no excuses approach to yourself – like you would with your kids! The majority of my blogging work is undertaken at night and as I love what I do, I have a tendency to work late. Not really conducive for getting up early for exercise. In the beginning, going to bed late at night, I would say to myself, “I will see how I feel when the alarm goes off”. I had just given myself an excuse before I had even laid down in bed.

I had to change my thinking and behaviour. Gym times became not negotiable with myself. The late nights were the problem, not the early mornings. This mental shift, made a huge difference to me just getting up and going each day.

5. Enjoy it

Finding a form of exercise you enjoy is super important to making it a regular part of your life. I injured myself running last year and was stuck in the gym for a number of months and not able to run. I lost much of my enthusiasm for exercise and while I was still going each day, I was really just going through the motions.  I was starting to get up later and do shorter gym sessions. A friend then recommended some classes she was doing and I thought I would give them a try. Luckily for me I loved them and it re-lit the spark I had for exercising daily. Now I am back to looking forward to getting up each day at 5am and getting out of the house for my class.

How to you organise time to exercise?

This post was first published at Kidspot as part of the The organised life story. Over at Kidspot you can find more useful tips and advice on how you can organise your life from not just me, but other fab bloggers as well.


  1. says

    I think the ‘if I feel like it’ excuse is the hardest to crack! I’d love to be exercising in the morning – getting it out of the way, but given I start work at 7am, and it’s a 20 min drive, it’s a little tough (and the gym in my building will not open until 6am as to not wake residents on that floor). Nonetheless, I am working of every second day, working out in the afternoon or evening, working my way up to being able to do a half marathon. I’m only at 3.85kms (in 25mins), but I know to pace myself with the program I’m following, and soon enough, I’ll get there!

  2. says

    I used to wake up early for a walk/run in the morning before the kids got up. This got harder to do in the winter.

    I am really blessed now, because I am fitting in my exercise while the kids are at school. I do zumba classes and I am grateful that I finally found something that doesn’t feel like I’m exercises but leaves me in a sweaty heap. ;)

  3. says

    Great post! The key is definitely being organised the night before with everything set out. Sometimes I used to sleep in my workout clothes and then there were no excuses!!

    ps – love the shoes!

  4. Jo says

    Congrats on getting to the gym almost every day, it certainly just doesnt happen without much planning – I do 4 days a week and that is a nice mix for me :)

    One ‘thing’ that I find challenging is when my miss 3.5 gets sick – the broken sleep, days at home rather than in care, that really makes exercising tough. So recently when miss 3.5 got a virus and couldnt attend care for 2 weeks (plus a few other big things happening at work) I decided that I would take 2.5 weeks off exercise. It was one less thing to do when life was super crazy – it meant I wasn’t pushing myself when just normal days were pushing myself – I did however make a date that I had to return. So even though I broke the routine, I gave myself a break when needed and got back into the routine at my agreed to self date.

    So my only other tip would be if life does go a bit crazy for a period of time, take some time out but set a date for return to routine.

  5. says

    I would love to do morning exercise, but we have to leave the house to get to work at 6.30am and I just can’t fit it in then. For me I try and fit in exercise throughout my day, walk from childcare centre to office, walk around the block at lunchtime and then aim for 2-3 gym sessions in evening a week. It kind of works, but would still prefer if I could do morning.

    • says

      Sounds like you have a routine that works with the family. I would love to a class on Saturday mornings regularly but they are so full of kids’ activities that it is a special treat if I get to fit one in!

  6. says

    I adore getting an exercise session in, but the reality is that some days don’t allow this. Our local gym has been closed for months and is due to re-open in about six months and since then l’ve had to re-think my fitness routine. So we’ve been walking and bike riding loads with the kids. I’ve also discovered two fantastic apps, so l can work out at home. I went to Kmart and purchased a $3 skipping rope and a $10 mat and do mini work outs in the garage that take anywhere from 20-40 minutes – pending on kids – they have been known to think l’m up for a wrestle when doing some mat work!! Also sometimes in our house a few swear words might slip here and there, and instead of a swear jar hubby and l do five star jumps. In a word the key for me is doing small stuff every day, which adds up at the end of the week and keeps me active. P.S The apps are In Shape – Map My Walk and Simply Yoga

  7. says

    This was such great timing! Only yesterday I set my alarm 30 minutes early so I could get up and exercise and when the alarm went off I hit snooze! I need to do some of your suggestions especially get everything ready the night before! Like Jo in her comment above, I was doing really well after Christmas for about six weeks and then I lost the plot. I need to set a date to get back into it. It really helps with keeping me sane! Thanks again.

    Also just a quick question, I found an old (2009!) blogpost of yours on parenting podcasts you recommended. I am wondering if you could do a follow up as to any new podcasts you may have discovered? Thanks!

  8. says

    I have really struggled to get regular exercise sonce birth of third baby 7 months ago. It didnt feel this hard the after first 2 kids! Partly I struggle because she wont take a bottle so leaving her for period of time is unpredictable. I am also guily of prioritising getting work done when she sleeps instead of jumping on rowing machine or something like that. Hmmmmm … need to start putting my wellbeing over business I think!

  9. says

    I’ve just started going to the gym this year and it is amazing what a difference it makes. I have everything ready to go three days a week, take girls to school and go straight to the gym. If I don’t get there straight away it doesn’t happen.

    My biggest struggle seems to be in my head, knowing that it is okay to say no to others because my gym time is equally as important as everyone elses needs.

  10. Debbie says

    Ten months ago, I was an exercise demon, having rediscovered exercise after having two kids. I would happily get up at 5.30am every day and head out – it became my sanity saver, And while my little ones found it hard to adjust ito mummy not being there when they woke in the beginning, very soon, if I was having a less than stirling day, my 3yo would ask me, “Mummy, didn’t you exercise this morning?” hahaha! I have just had baby number 3, and while I was able to continue exercising up to 3 weeks before delivery, obviously now with a newborn, I’m finding it hard to even contemplate how I can get out and get the endorphin hit I love so much. At what age was your youngest, Nicole, when you made the commitment to exercise again?

    • says

      I actually went back to exercising on a very light program within a couple of weeks of each baby. Started back walking (either on the street or on the treadmill) and doing a number of core exercises about three times a week. I would tend to go straight after the first feed of the morning. Like you it was really to help keep me sane!

  11. says

    I think you are so right about brining family on board. Without the support of my husband it would be near impossible to get out with a nearly 2 year old and 4 month old at home. It needs to be a family decision, and considering that my health and well being is crucial to our family life, it is easy to keep it as a priority. And discipline really is the key, and often the thing that so many (me included!) struggle with. Small, achievable goals really help with this! Mel.

  12. Theresa says

    Loved this post. My kids are both early risers & it’s easy to make that an excuse too- but I prefer a 530am class 2x a week even though both mine are at school now–husband gets kids brekkie usually & I feel amazing all morning! Although I do go to bed by 9pm.. Really enjoying a 12 week programme now& running 5km every weekend with free Parkrun at 7am before the son’s soccer at 830am. I too am fitter & more consistent than in my 20’s pre-kids!!

  13. Dione says

    This post has come at the perfect time for me. I have now had a gym membership for 3 months and been 3 times. I find it hard to get there because of my husbands long hours and when he has to go away for work. Just yesterday I received an email from the gym re a boot camp starting Monday, its for 3 days a week at 6.15am. This time is do able if I can get myself out of bed. I go to bed too late which makes me not want to get up any earlier than I have too. Your post has given me the motivation I need to ‘just do it!” If you can get up at 5am surely I can get up at 6am and get my day started. Thanks for the motivation Nic and fingers crossed its the commando training me haha

  14. Nic Singleton says

    Beginning to understand the joys of exercise Nic! Love the time that is solely for ‘me’!