How To Exercise With Kids

I put off exercising for years because … well … HOW?

First I had one kid and then I had two. Add my home state of rainy Washington and it just never seemed feasible to find a time to consistently exercise. So, I didn’t. 

Then, one day – I just stopped making excuses. Dishes could wait and the kids could come with me while I exercised. I’m not here to say it’s necessarily easy to exercise with your kids, BUT it can be done! I’m the walkin’ talkin’ proof :)

So, in handy dandy list fashion, here’s the how behind exercising with my little crew …


I know from our church nursery experience that there was a negative 400 chance that Max would tolerate a gym childcare setup. So, that means we’re not just in the same building while I exercise, we’re together. Like, together together.

Enter this fine chap. I love him. I got him on Craigslist and when the time comes to replace him, I’ll buy another. Best thing ever for any mama on the move. Plus, I witnessed a versatile skateboard attachment added for a third child at a recent Stroller Strides class. That mama has got some oomph, not only for #3, but for #4 who was snuggled up in her Ergo!stroller shadow

Other “equipment” includes … my favorite apps (Spotify, UP24 and Run 5K), water for all, snacks for the bumpkins, and a stash of sweaters, diapers, wipes, coloring, books, and various other forms of no-pulling-hair-be-kind-and-smile types of bribery.


For me, this is key. If I don’t plan it, it doesn’t happen. Like, no way. So, every week when I meal plan, I also exercise plan. I know the days I’m walking, running, taking a class, and doing meat home yoga video. Now, a torrential down pour can derail me on occasion, but for the most part, I stick to my calendar. Oh, and I don’t just pencil in the day – it’s the time too. Because if I commit to the morning, that means one thing, versus something in the afternoon or right before bed. Feel me?

Which brings me to my very best “advice”. Getting out the door is the hardest part with kids! Harder than burpees or that last 1/4 mile when your lungs feel all wheezy. So, I’ve found that sleeping in my workout clothes makes my morning exercise days much easier. This way, I can get out of bed, brush my teeth (because obviously), reassemble my messy bun, pop in my contacts, don my shoes and be ready to go. Most always, I’ll let the kids ride along in their pajamas and eat breakfast while I run. It’s beautiful! Well not really beautiful, more of the effective kind of beautiful that I thrive on as a mom. So, yeah, sleep in that tank and capris and you’ll be set!


Last, but definitely, 100% not least, is my accountability and support. No one knows exercising with kids like another mama. So, I aim to meet up with other mamas as often as I can. Over the summer I was training for my 5K with my bestest teacher friend and now that school is back in sesh, I’m killin’ it with my Stroller Strides ladies.  

Friends, Stroller Strides is 1) no joke and 2) the most thorough workout maybe ever. I say “maybe ever” because I don’t really have a strong history of various workout regimens, but, what I can tell you is that my arms, legs, bum and abs all feel the love during Stroller Strides. Best of all, it is so much more interactive for Jemma and Max than straight up running. We do jumping jacks while singing songs, lunge ladders and then run back to them for tickles, and count our push ups in French. The amazing instructors even read stories and blow bubbles for the kids while cheering us on. Curious about Stroller Strides? This FAQ gives a good picture of what to expect. stroller strides fit4mom stroller strides fit4momMy favorite thing about my Stroller Strides experience thus far was from a quick conversation I had with one of the first instructors I met, and I paraphrase … she said, “I teach Stroller Strides to help moms feels good about themselves – it’s hard work being a mom, it’s hard work exercising, it’s even harder work exercising with your kids and I’m here to encourage everyone through it so we can all walk away knowing we did something great for ourselves and our family.”

Can I get an amen?

There is no doubt that exercising with kids is hard work. But let me tell you, the benefits of that hard work are huge. Most of all, I’m proud to be setting a positive example for my little ones. They’re watching me make healthy choices and I hope it will compel them to follow suite in the years to come. I know they’re watching and soaking it all in. Most recently because Jemma presented me with this photo of our family … family runner mom

Her explanation of my outfit was “these are your pink running pants, because those are my favorite ones you wear and the orange running shirt is the one you told me you run fast in” :) OHMYGOODNESS! She freakin’ identifies me, her mother, as a frequent enough exerciser that my workout clothes were featured in a drawing! Not pajamas, or jeans and Birkenstocks – WORKOUT CLOTHES!

So, here I am, cheering you on to rally your equipment, schedule some dates with your tennies and hand pick a support team that will keep you motivated! Exercising with kids is possible and dare I say, a little bit fun too :)

I received complimentary classes from my local Stroller Strides group so I could adequately share about my experience. No other compensation was received. You can find a local Stroller Strides to you here.


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  1. Mary C says

    Thank you Gretch!!!! i have been wanting to try a class up here in Tacoma and i think i will now!

    • Gretchen says

      Do! I think you’ll really enjoy it – I was nervous, but am totally into it now :)

  2. says

    Wow, I’m definitely interested in a stroller strides class now! I had no idea what it was!