5 Ways to Add Running and Walking Into Your Daily Routine

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

It’s hot and sticky outside, and you’re running from one kids’ activity to the next. How do you fit in a workout to stay healthy and keep your sanity? Here are 5 ways that I’m making it happen:

1. Run or walk in little bursts:

I try to run or walk everywhere, no matter how short the distance. It may sound silly, but I think it is good for my body to experience sudden bursts of physical energy, and the best part is that it motivates me to want to be active more. If I’m taking the garbage out to the curb, I sprint with it; if I need to move the hose to water our new shrubs, I run to it; if I’m getting the mail, I run to the mailbox.

2. Run or walk to get where you are going:

I also try to run/walk pushing Baby in the stroller (running for as long as I can – 5 minutes, then walking for 1 minute, etc.) to destinations that we need to get to. Back when we lived in the city before Baby arrived, this was easy because there was so much within walking distance. Now that we live in a woodsy suburb, our destinations are places like the library, the alpaca farm, the house with the new foal, the pond, etc. The point is just to have a destination. You feel like you are killing two birds with one stone: getting in a workout and getting to where ever you need to go that day. Another trick is to drive part of the way and to walk or run the remaining distance to your destination. This is especially helpful if you don’t live in a city. You can park a half mile from the store, take the stroller out, and run or walk with Baby the rest of the way. If you need to buy something, you can always stash it in the bottom of the stroller on the way back.

3. Meet up with friends for a walking or running date:

I love doing this because it serves several purposes:
- I get to socialize.
- Even if one of the kids have a runny nose or something, you’re still getting together with friends and since the kids are in strollers, they are not spreading their germs to each other.
- Most importantly, I won’t bail on my workout. It’s easy to change your mind about working out when it only affects you, but if you’re meeting up with someone, you feel like you have to go no matter what.
- You can schedule these walking/running dates ahead of time. If I know we are walking with friends on two of the days of the week, it takes the pressure off of me to figure out how to get exercise into those days.

4. Do it first thing in the morning:

Summer weather can be unbearable for long walks and runs so we try to get out first thing in the morning. If I throw my sports bra, running socks, and shorts on right away, it motivates – and reminds me – to get out. The weather is usually at its most beautiful and there is no time for excuses. Very often, Baby will still be in his pajamas, but who cares? It’s one less thing to do before getting out.

5. Go someplace new to explore by walking or running:

Mom on the beach with baby in a carrier

Walking or running on the sand adds excellent resistance to your workout - as does carrying a 20 lb baby in a carrier!

Walk or run you and your little one around the beach, a museum, a sculpture park, a new playground, a nature preserve, or a new neighborhood. Summer is the time for exploring!

For more tips on fitting exercise into your day, check out The Stay at Home Mama Workout: Tips for Staying Fit With Little Time and Money.

How do you fit running or walking into your day?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 michelle spreckels July 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

awesome tips! I love the idea of driving part of the way to the store and then walking the rest of the way. :) I bring a backpack for those kinds of trips, that way I can stow extra (lightweight) things and walk back to my car. :)
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2 Laura July 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for posting this! Tonight, no matter how busy I am, I’m taking a walk… All my friends are recently post-partum so no one is up for walks just yet, but maybe soon!


3 Just One Donna July 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Great advice as the temperature inches up to the 90 degree mark! I try to get my walks/runs out of the way early in the morning. It is cooler, quieter and more of a mind/body exercise than later in the day. I’m lucky enough to be able to walk on the beach, if low tide is early in the morning. Then if I get hot, I can just take off my shoes and walk in the water. Nice!
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4 christieo July 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

Great post! I agree with all of them, it is REALLY good for your body to experience those sudden bursts, it helps your muscle fibers adjust to that, that’s why when you’ve got a running regimen, speed work is so vital! Awesome! And I LOVE going to new places to run, there’s nothing better than a change of scenery.


5 The Damsel in Dis Dress July 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

Good tips! I think I’ll run to the store today. Really!


6 Renee Huggins July 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Great post! I always say that there isn’t anything within walking distance, but I never considered driving part of the way. What a wonderful idea! Stumbled!
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7 Bibi July 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Great tips. I used to get up 45 minutes early and do my power walk before kids woke up during the hot months and I felt great.

Once I stopped I just can’t seems to get back to it, but I really need to.
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8 Alison Golden - The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman July 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I have one thing to add. Wear sports clothing. I *live* in tank tops, sweat pants and tennis shoes. That way, I can do a quick sprint where ever I am. Always being dressed for exercise is comfortable, practical and means you can jump into a 30 second workout anywhere. :-)
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9 Kristl Story July 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Great ideas! I think I’ll start incorporating the “little bursts” into my life! During the non-summer months, I try to ride my bike to do most errands…it’s a huge gas saver!
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10 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth July 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Great tips! I used to be so much better about getting out and walking every day. We used to walk nightly after dinner as a whole family, but with sports and more kids and other things have gotten in the way we have neglected it. I like the idea that you can still get in walking and running even in short bursts.
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11 Bob Lipply@clearwater homes September 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

Great tips and thanks for the motivation. Running and walking is something which we can do everyday but its just that many of us gets too busy with tight work schedules. I like walking on sands, it makes my tired feet feel great but sadly I’m not taking enough sand walks.


12 Sheila@treadmills for sale October 3, 2011 at 12:11 am

The best thing to do is to do it early in the morning. That way you don’t have the rest of the day to think about it as you gradually become less inclined to actually do it
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13 Jeff Wise April 10, 2012 at 1:20 am

Sometimes we just have to take what we can get and sneak in some exercise time. My wife takes advantage of the kids nap time and we also do plenty of family exercise together whether it’s taking a walk or playing around in the back yard.
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14 Tmuffin June 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

So that’s how you always look so awesome! I live in an area where I basically can’t leave my development… roads with high speed limits and no sidewalks or even shoulders are all around me. But I never thought about driving part of the way and then walking. What a great idea! I also love your idea about short bursts of energy… I could see that really helping to keep my energy up throughout the day.
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