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Ways to Make Exercise Fun for Busy Parents 

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Ways to Make Exercise Fun for Busy Parents 

Stuck in an exercise rut? Feel like you’re in a workout funk? Switch things up by trying one of these super fun, extra easy suggestions!

Get in the game

Recruit your kiddos and some of their friends (or yours) to play a game of balloon volleyball, manhunt, tug of war, or sock tag (grab the sock hanging from each other’s pockets). Pick out cool prizes, like a visit to the zoo, for the winners! Or, if your kids are into video games, play Kinect Training, Zumba Fitness, or Wii Fit to get you all moving and grooving.

Mix it up

It can be boring to do the same aerobic exercise for 30+ minutes over and over again. Rather than pounding it out on the treadmill or elliptical, try breaking it up instead. Do 15 minutes of jogging followed by 15 minutes of cycling to keep your boredom at bay. Time will fly and before you know it your workout will be done! Eventually, you’ll find yourself working up to 60 minutes every day, just like your kids!

Pump up the jam

Upbeat music can help give you the extra motivation you might need to start moving more. Once you start working out to your favorite tunes, you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll forget you’re even exercising! Try an app like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora or listen via the radio, internet or Alexa—you can match your tempo to the beat of a song to keep you grooving in line with your pace. These apps also have oodles of workout playlists you can search for and use for free. Or, make a new playlist on your smartphone specifically for your workouts with loud, fast songs to keep you energized. Crank up the beats and get moving! This also makes cooking meals with the kids go by faster too!

Plan your own playdate

Bring the kids or escape while they are at school. Meet up at a park with a friend for a chat and a walk, to shoot some hoops, or to toss a Frisbee – relive the joys of childhood as an adult. Who says grown-ups can’t have fun? Kite flying, hiking, indoor rock climbing and rollerblading, anyone? Or make a playdate with your partner -arrange for a sitter, then go out and do something active together!

exercise for busy parents and kids

Choose the path less traveled

When you run or walk on the same path, the view can get old. Find a new route to challenge yourself on your walk or run and enjoy the different scenery! A new path may push your workout because you will not expect certain changes in the terrain like a hill or a bend in the road. If you’re not keen on switching paths, even running your usual route in the opposite direction can provide a nice change of pace. Try it out, you might like it even better.

Stay social

We live in a social world, so why not use social media to track your workouts? Apps like Strava and Endomondo allow you to track how far and fast you bike/run on different routes, so you can compete with your friends and break your own records. Game on!

Become a fitness fashionista

Every so often, clothes shopping should be worked into your schedule alongside your grocery shopping. Workout clothes don’t have to be sweatpants and t-shirts with holes in them! Buy a fun workout outfit to feel more confident when you exercise. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be nice, either. Many big box and designer discount stores have trendy workout clothes at very reasonable prices. Time to go shopping!


If you love to workout at home, but cycling through the same few videos are beginning to feel like a total snooze-fest, host a workout swap with your friends! Invite your pals over and swap or share your favorite workout videos, routines, or dance moves. Better yet, have your friends stay for the workout so you can sweat it out together! Check out these 9 gadgets for a home gym and how to find the best-used gym equipment.

Text your friends

These days, everyone is on their phones. Send your friends text messages with random sets of workouts that they have to stop, drop, and comply with! For example, send a text, “I’m doing five chair poses (when you sit on an invisible chair in the air) and a round of kitchen table push-ups, join in!” Even if your friends work, moves like chair squats, desk push-ups, and stair climbs are great office-friendly exercise moves. Make a game out of it by starting an exercise group chat and whoever responds the fastest wins!

Try a Bosu ball

These half-moon balls can add a new and unique challenge to your regular ole’ fitness routine. Lifting weights while maintaining your balance keeps your brain focused, your body nimble, and your workout mega fun. The Bosu ball will challenge new muscle groups while also forcing you to keep your core tight – hello abs!

Go pro

Hire a fitness professional to guide you through a variety of workouts that you haven’t felt comfortable trying on your own. Learn martial art techniques, yoga, pilates, weight training or even dance moves from a professional! It’s worth the extra bucks.

Treat yo’ self

Unsure how to boost fitness inspiration? Make a calendar and place a sticker or draw an “x” through every day you made an effort to work out. Next, decide how many days you want to commit to exercising. At the end of the month, count up the days and reward yourself! That pair of shoes you’ve been drooling over or those jeans you’ve wanted to buy could be yours? Reward yourself for sticking to your goal and set a goal for the next month! Treat yo’ self; you deserve it.

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About the Author

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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