time to exercise


Finding time to exercise when you are a busy expat parent

01 June 2020
Finding time in the schedule for daily physical activity can be challenging, however, with some forward planning and commitment it’s possible to find a window in your day.

Busy expat parents may face many barriers when it comes to getting adequate physical activity. Finding time for exercise can be particularly difficult if you have just started an assignment or moved country. Adapting to the change in surroundings, settling the children in school and coping with language barriers is difficult and takes time each day.

Failing to find the time for physical activity may have a detrimental impact on your health and wellbeing both in the short and long term. There are so many positive benefits for you, and for your children of getting more active. To help you get started, why not try some of the following suggestions.

Getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning can allow you time to exercise before the children wake. You could try a workout DVD or follow a training schedule from one of the many exercise apps.

Exercising at home is convenient if weather or culture in your expatriate base prevent you from exercising outdoors. You don’t need a lot of space to exercise at home (the area of a yoga mat) or expensive equipment. A skipping rope or some free weights are enough for you to get a good work out.

If it’s an option for you, walking or cycling with the children to day-care or school can be a great way for you and the children to get active, while spending some quality outdoor time together.

Exercising in the morning has the added advantage of contributing to a positive frame of mind for the day ahead. 

If you are a parent who works outside the home, try to find time for physical activity during your scheduled work breaks. This could be as simple as bringing your runners to work and getting out for a brisk walk during lunch or if there is a gym or swimming pool near your workplace you could get fit in a 30-minute session before you start work or on your way home.
If you have a partner, allocate times when one of you can take part in some physical activity while the other watches the children. Scheduled time slots and routine, will help you commit to your fitness regime.
If exercise is to become part of your daily routine, then it will need to fit comfortably within your busy schedule. Activity sessions do not need to be long, often intensity of exercise matters most. The World Health Organisation recommends 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week. That’s only five 15-minute sessions across seven days. There are many free High Intensity Interval Workouts (HIIT) available on YouTube to follow. Just search HIIT and the level you are looking for (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and you should find lots of options.
Physical activity is all about movement. There are many opportunities throughout the day when you can make a choice to move more. Take the stairs, park a little further away from work or get off the bus at an earlier stop. It won’t take much time, but it will increase your activity levels.
Are there active sports and activities which you all enjoy as a family? Make these a regular part of your weekly routine. The options are endless from swimming to skating, rollerblading to rowing.. choose something which your family can commit to regularly. It’s also a great way to spend some fun family time together.
The important thing is to do something, don’t let a lack of time and busy schedule impact on your health. Find an activity you enjoy and get moving.
Home Workout