Workouts for Busy Moms: Finding Ways to Fit in Fitness

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

workouts for busy moms

Tied up with work, family, and life commitments? You can still keep up with your fitness with some great workouts for busy moms!

Quick workouts you can do at home or at the office with minimal equipment can help you achieve or maintain the tight, toned figure you desire.

Squeeze in mini exercises at your desk at work, when doing house chores, or while running errands to add extra physical activity to your daily routine.

Keeping your body moving is simpler than you think!

The key is to stay active as often as you can each day, even if it's not a planned workout.

Aim to exercise for at least 20 minutes daily (or most days of the week).

Keep your body moving for at least 45 additional minutes a day and add mini exercises to your everyday tasks.

Work physical activity into your routine based on what your busy schedule allows!

Get started today with these great workouts for busy moms!

These 4 tips will get you on the right track toward your weight loss goals!


Sample Workouts for Busy Moms

If you're looking for highly effective workouts for busy moms, consider the sample exercise plans below!

Circuit Training

To tighten and tone, as well as burn body fat, try this simple circuit training workout for busy moms:

2-Minute Warm-Up

  • Jog in place or do jumping jacks for 2 minutes to get your muscles warm.

First Circuit

  • 1 minute of rope jumping
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of squat jumps
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of mountain climbers
  • Move on to the second circuit

Second Circuit (with Dumbbells)

  • 1 minute of squat to press
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of biceps curls
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of triceps extensions
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 1 minute of standing dumbbell lunges
  • 15 seconds of rest

Repeat Circuits 1 and 2

  • Repeat the first circuit
  • Repeat the second circuit
  • Repeat the first circuit again (optional)
  • Repeat the second circuit again (optional)

2-Minute Cool Down and Stretch

  • Jog in place slowly and stretch your muscles for 5 minutes.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

To complete high-intensity interval training, choose from the following list of aerobic exercises:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Stair climbing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical machine workouts

To complete HIIT workouts, simply:

  • Exercise at low intensity to warm up for 2 minutes.
  • Stay at a low intensity or bump up your intensity level to medium for 1-2 minutes.
  • Switch to a high-intensity pace for 30-60 seconds.
  • Alternate between low-intensity and higher-intensity bouts of cardiovascular exercise for at least 20 minutes (or longer if you have more time to designate for planned exercise).

HIIT helps tighten and tone your body, as well as burn fat and improve cardiovascular endurance!

This 15-minute HIIT workout can be done at home with no equipment!


Longer, Lower-Intensity Cardio Workouts

On days you may have additional time for workouts, such as when you have alone time or on the weekends, complete lower-intensity, long cardio sessions to enhance fat burning.

Your longer cardio days might be 40, 60, or even 75 minutes in some cases, depending on your time commitment and fitness level.

Keep your pace at a low to moderate intensity, which allows your body to finish longer workouts without “hitting the wall.”

Strength Training Exercises

On resistance training days, or if you'd like to combine strength training with aerobic workouts, consider adding strength-training exercises into your weekly routine.

Use dumbbell weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight as resistance to complete some of the following muscle-specific exercises.

  • Legs, butt, and calf exercises: narrow-stance squats, wide-stance squats, walking lunges, standing lunges, calf raises, squat jumps, wall squat holds, squat to press with dumbbells, squats with overhead medicine ball throws, resistance-band standing leg raises, and squat kicks
  • Upper and lower back exercises: dumbbell deadlifts, bent-over reverse flys, bent-over one-arm dumbbell rows, and back extensions
  • Shoulder exercises: standing upright rows with dumbbells, dumbbell shoulder press, lateral raises, front raises, and resistance band upright rows
  • Arm exercises: biceps curls with dumbbells, biceps curls with resistance bands, triceps extensions with bands or dumbbells, triceps dips, and triceps kickbacks with dumbbells or resistance bands
  • Chest exercises: Dumbbell chest press, pushups, dumbbell flys, and resistance band flys
  • Abdominal exercises: crunches, sit-ups, V-ups, leg raises, oblique crunches, planks, plank jacks, side planks, and shoulder-touch planks

Complete at least two sets of 10-20 repetitions for each muscle-sculpting exercise you choose.

Work each major muscle group at least twice weekly to maximize muscle toning.

You can do abdominal exercise daily, or at least most days of the week, to keep your midsection trim.

Find out why strength training for women over 40 is important to combat muscle loss and promote longevity!


Yoga Workouts

Doing yoga is the perfect addition to weekly workouts for busy moms.

Yoga helps strengthen, tone, and stretch your body.

It reduces stress, minimizes muscle tension, and helps improve your overall fitness level.

Check out these highly-effective yoga workouts and get started today!

Kickboxing Exercises

To change up your usual workout routine and have fun while exercising, try kickboxing at least once or twice a month.

This type of workout tightens and tones your entire body and improves cardiovascular fitness at the same time.

Add a variety of kicks and punches to your kickboxing routines, such as uppercuts, speed bag punches, jabs, hook punches, front kicks, side kicks, and back kicks.

Try an in-person or online kickboxing class to participate in structured kickboxing programs or create your own routine.

Whether you have just 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour, kickboxing is one of the best toning workouts for busy moms.

Peloton Workouts

If you have a Peloton bike at home (or any type of stationary bike) add at-home cycling to your busy weekly routine.

Peloton offers a variety of cycling workouts to choose from that match your fitness level, time frame, and schedule.

Having a built-in cycling class available to you at home makes it easier for you to avoid skipping workouts.

If you don't have a Peloton, choose apps or online cycling classes to get your blood pumping, tighten, tone, and increase cardiovascular fitness and strength.

Bike outdoors or at a local gym if you don't have a stationary bike in your home.

Pilates Exercises

Pilates is a workout you can do from the comfort of home when it's most convenient for you.

Pilates combines of variety of stretches and toning exercises that elongate and strengthen muscle fibers.

It helps keep energy levels high, tones your body, and aids in healthy weight management.

Try these Pilates exercises once a week or every two weeks as your busy schedule allows.

Activities of Daily Living

Add at least 45 minutes of activities of daily living into your day-to-day routine to keep your calorie expenditure and metabolism as high as possible:

  • Cook at home
  • Grocery shop
  • Do the dishes
  • Mop the floors
  • Vacuum the floors
  • Wash windows or mirrors
  • Do laundry
  • Walk the dog
  • Play outside with your kids
  • Mow the lawn
  • Rake leaves
  • Shovel snow
  • Garden, pull weeds, or trim shrubs
  • Organize closets
  • Clean the garage

The key is to keep your body moving as much as possible and sit down less often.

Doing so keeps your metabolism high and reduces the risk of unplanned weight gain.

Mini Sculpting Exercises

Do mini exercises throughout the day to get or stay toned, as well as boost your body's energy expenditure.

Whether you're at work, at home, or running errands, do the following mini-workouts whenever you have an opportunity to do so!

  • Squeeze your glutes
  • Flex your abs
  • Climb stairs
  • Do traditional squats
  • Complete wall squats or sits
  • Do leg raises
  • Complete plank holds
  • Do calf raises or holds
  • Do pushups
  • Hold a V-up pose

You can do these exercises periodically throughout the day, not just during scheduled exercise sessions.

Squeeze them in when you're at your computer, while watching television, or when waiting in line at the grocery store.

When combined together, adding mini exercises into your routine here and there can really make a difference in your physique.

Here are some more mini workouts you can do throughout the day at home or work!


Workouts for Busy Moms: Tips for Success!

Workouts for busy moms can make staying in shape simple!

Try the following tips to ensure that daily workouts, activities of daily living, and mini exercise sessions happen every day!

Stick with a Routine

Develop a daily routine based on your schedule and add plenty of exercise and other activities to it.

Go to the bed at the same time each night, wake up about the same time each morning, and exercise at the same time each day (preferably in the morning soon after you wake up).

Set regular mealtimes and schedule specific times of the day to complete activities of daily living (house chores, shopping, cooking, walking the dog, etc.).

Keep a daily journal to track workouts and other activities.

Doing so keeps you accountable for meeting activity and wellness goals!

Change Your Mindset

Changing your mindset can help you stick with doing workouts for busy moms long term.

Prioritize planned exercise and get creative about ways to keep your body moving.

Stand up, climb stairs, do squats or pushups, do crunches, or go for walks every chance you get to keep your metabolism and calorie expenditure high.

Get Plenty of High-Quality Sleep

Sleep is just as important as completing highly effective workouts for busy moms.

Sleep helps keep your energy levels high. It also reduces the risk of weight gain linked with sleep deprivation, since poor sleep can alter hunger hormones in the body and decrease satiety.

In addition to setting a regular sleep schedule, sleep in a cool dark room, keep stress levels low, and avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the day.

Use a white noise machine if you're a light sleeper to improve sleep quality and see a doctor if you struggle with sleep apnea.

Try this simple technique to fall asleep and relax your mind before bed!


Break Workouts Into Smaller Sweat Sessions

If you're too busy to complete 30-minute workouts, break up exercise sessions into smaller 10-minute bouts.

Reorganizing exercise sessions into three or four mini-sessions spaced apart throughout the day is just as effective for improving health and wellness as one longer sweat session.

Track the total number of minutes you exercise in a journal to ensure you complete at least 20-30 minutes of planned exercise most days of each week.

Track minutes spent doing activities of daily living or mini exercise sessions too!

Exercise in the Morning

One of the best ways to start off each day is to get your body moving and your blood pumping.

Even if you just have 10-20 minutes in the morning to spare, sneak a quick workout for busy moms into your morning routine.

Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than usual to complete a quick sweat session before you start the rest of your day.

If you have additional time later in the day, such as during a lunch break, after work, or during kids' activities, add additional workouts or activity breaks in bouts of 10, 20, or 30-minute increments.

Stay Active During Your Lunch Breaks

If you work full time, stay active during your lunch break — even if you have just 10-15 minutes to go for a walk, climb stairs, or do squats.

If your workplace is within walking distance to a healthy restaurant, consider walking to lunch and back to the office to burn extra calories and keep your body moving.

Recruit coworkers to join you!

Stand Instead of Sit Down

Despite a busy schedule, stand up instead of sitting down whenever you have a chance.

Whether you're at work (try a sit-stand desk), watching kids' sports games, or simply hanging out with friends and family, stand up vs. sitting down if possible.

Alternate between periods of sitting and standing often.

Doing so regularly also keeps your blood vessels healthy and reduces the risk of varicose and spider veins in your legs.

Is sitting the new smoking? Learn about the negative effects of sitting and how to reverse them!


Join the Fit Mother Project

The Fit Mother Project is a healthy living program specifically designed for busy moms over 40, so it's the perfect resource for obtaining additional workouts for busy moms.

Upon joining you also receive custom meal plans, recipes, weekly newsletters, health coaching support from medical experts, social support from other fit moms, and more!

The Fit Mother Project has helped millions of busy parents achieve their goal weights, stay healthy, gain confidence, and set a good example for their kids.

Try a Fit Mother Project free meal plan and workout for busy moms to get started on your health journey today!

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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