A survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy found that on average full time working mothers spend nearly four and a half hours caring for their children midweek and six and a half at the weekend. And of this, half of the time is spent on housework or watching television with the kids.

So rather than find time outside of your normal routine – which can be nigh on impossible – think about building it into what you’re already doing. Make family outings active ones. Not only will you be spending valuable time with them, you’ll all benefit from the exercise.

  • Birth – 18 months

If you’ve a newborn then don’t dismiss the idea of getting fit with them. Baby-focussed activities at leisure centres and gyms are becoming increasingly popular these days. As well as classes, take baby out for regular walks in the pushchair – it’ll give you both some air and you’ll get a break from the house. And remember that hiking uphill with a buggy is great cardio and does more for the backs of the legs and buttocks than spending hours on the stepper.

  • Toddlers

When you can, walk to the shops or to visit the grandparents rather than hopping in the car. You can always take the pushchair in case they tire along the way. Make and effort and run around with them at the park or beach or splash about with them at the swimming pool. And when the weather makes it impossible to venture outdoors, you can always get a bit inventive indoors. Both of you can burn off some energy by sticking on a funky CD and jigging around the living room.

  • School Age

Build a bit of activity into the things you have to do, like walking or cycling with them to school instead of always hopping in the car. Instead of stagnating in front of the TV make an effort in the evenings by venturing out for a quick walk after dinner. At weekends make family outings active ones. Swim at the local pool, play in the park, take the bikes out or make a trip to the beach. Not only will it mean you get hit your exercise quota, you’ll also be teaching them healthy habits which will stand them in good stead for the future.