The Back-To-School Time Crunch . . . And 6 Ways To Fit In Your Own Exercise

By Jessica Poole, Certified Athletic Trainer

I don’t know about you, but the dog days of summer have me longing for fall. With that longing, comes -- for some who will remain nameless -- the desire for school to begin again.

What, you haven’t had your fill of sibling fights and “Mom/Dad, I’m bored”?

It’s a bittersweet ending to summer. Less family time and more traffic, ugh!

So with school, sports, traffic, more organization and more creative family time, how do you plan on maintaining your fitness routine?

Or starting one?

Today I am going to share six times you can squeeze your own exercise into the busy back-to-school day:

Early bird gets the worm
For some, early to rise is how it gets done. Get up, get to work and it’s done for the day. This may mean very early in the morning. So set yourself up for success the night before. Get the lunches fixed and breakfast for the family prepped the night before. Iron your clothes or assemble your gear for the next day before bed. Recruit your family to help and gain some family bonding chore time after dinner and before you all settle into R&R and pre-bed rituals. Make it fun and work together.

Take advantage of school
For some, after morning drop-off is a great time to squeeze in a walk, run, Barre class or gym event. You are already out and about, so schedule your exercise during this time. For those who can, this is a great way to unwind from the stress of the morning rush, calm down, exercise and get on with your day.

Long lunches
Most of us spend our lunch break at our desk or skip lunch to cash in that valuable 30 minutes, whether working, doing house chores, or running errands. Plan your day and take your lunch. Grab a quick walk, lifting session or run during your lunch break. If you were going to eat at your desk anyway, do that after your workout. Eating lunch at your desk alone is an unhealthy habit, so make a change and get away for a moment.

After work, work out
If you have a flexible schedule, get to work early and leave a little earlier to squeeze in that workout. If the kids are up and off to school early, do the same. Getting there early may mean leaving at 4 p.m. versus 5 p.m. and you can use that extra hour for exercise before jumping into the evening events.

Use the sporting complexes
Don’t drop off the kids and go home. Stay! Many of the venues where I cover athletic events have very large fields you can walk or jog around. Also they are large complexes, so you can easily map out a mile path, or longer, to jog, run or walk. Or consider coaching and actually play with the kids. I’m sure there are some coaches who would love extra scrimmage folks so they don’t have to play and coach at the same time. I see many parents taking advantage of that two-hour practice session to exercise. You will be there anyway, so take advantage of that time.

After bed
If you are a night owl, get everything done and then exercise. It’s a great way to wind down and be productive while falling into a Netflix daze. Once the kids are settled and the daily grind is over find your happy place in exercise. Yoga is a wonderful strength-building and stress-busting exercise method, or pound out some miles on the treadmill.

Whatever your time of day is, exercise safely and make it a priority. Get it done.

Well, best of luck to all of you heading back to school. We head back soon and this momma is gonna have six hours during the week without littles under foot for the first time since having them (you preschool moms know what I’m sayin’!).

I’m gonna cry and then go run.

A long, long, and quiet run. But it’s going to be blissful, after a good long cry about how my two babies are growing up too fast.

Happy back to school y’all!

How GMC Can Help

To learn more about Gwinnett Medical Center’s complete sports medicine program, including our Running Clinic, visit


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