Over 60% of mums say exercising makes them feel guilty | Women's Running

Over 60% of mums say exercising makes them feel guilty

Read Time:   |  June 19, 2019


From the early days of endless nappies and feeding on demand, to the years of school runs and constant ferrying to play dates and after-clubs, grabbing a few minutes for yourself can seem impossible. In fact almost a third of mothers (30%) said that they had less than an hour to take for themselves each day.

The latest research from Sport England has revealed that not only do mums feel that they don’t have time to exercise but that 61% of mums feel guilty about taking time out to exercise. The survey of over 1,000 mothers of children up to 6 years old, showed that most would prioritise being with family, cooking and housework over time for themselves to workout. This is despite 77% of mothers wanting to do more exercise.

Mum, Natalie Lee said, “Feeling guilty and motherhood are undoubtedly synonymous. Exercise is another thing on the long list of stuff to feel guilty about.”

The new research will inform the latest campaign from This Girl Can. It is set to help busy mums fit exercise into their hectic schedules, providing them with a series of tips, advice and home work out ideas.

Lisa O’Keefe, Insight Director at Sport England commented, “Our insights show that children with active parents – particularly mothers – are more likely to be active themselves. And children who have positive experiences of sport and physical activity early on are also more likely to prioritise being active in later life.”

Findings suggest that active mums have more active children and that the mothers have a greater influence on children’s activity levels compared to fathers. Sport’s England found young people aged between 11-15 with an active mother are more likely to be active, than those with a non-active mother. By taking time to keep active, mothers actually benefit the health of their whole family.


Psychologist, Emma Kenny said, “This research gives mums a really powerful message about the importance of self-care. As a mum, you may believe that looking after everyone else’s needs is your main priority, but the truth is that you need to take care of yourself first and foremost, because that ensures you have the energy to look after those you love.” 

The Minister for Sport and Civil Society , Mims Davies added, “This research makes clear just how influential mums can be on their children’s physical activity levels, which is so important for mental wellbeing, educational outcomes and development of important life skills like teamwork and leadership. We are determined to get half a million more people into sport and physical activity across England by 2020, with at least half of these being women.”

For more information about This Girl Can, visit their website.

To see Sport England’s research, visit their website.

If you want to get more active, see our 12 running hacks for busy mums.