Working parents sometimes have an easier time fitting in a workout. There is always the lunch hour if there is a gym or basketball court near your office, and if not there is always getting there and back: Ride a bike to work, take the stairs, and you have a minimal exercise routine taken care of.

But there are ways to work exercise into a stay-at-home parent's day, too. Even if you're not trying to lose weight (although I know few parents who aren't) you'll feel better if you squeeze in a little active movement.

These suggestions are for parents with little kids. When they're older, of course, you can get involved in sports with them. If they let you.

1. Chase. Lots of moms joke that they'll lose the baby weight chasing after a toddler, but then it never happens. Well, do more chasing. Actually initiate running games with little ones and challenge yourself to keep it up until THEY'RE tired. Which can be quite a long time. And when they get tired of chase, there's always playing ball, you pushing them on the swing or merry-go-round, and if your kids are old enough, riding bikes together.

2. Hit the pool. I have found that I am just as tired after 45 minutes in the pool with a baby as I would have been if I swam laps. OK, the activity may not be as constant and as effective, but it's something. Move the baby around the pool, lift the baby up and down, just don't put the baby in a float boat and stand there.

3. Stroll the errands. If you live in a walkable neighborhood (and why wouldn't you?), take the stroller instead of the car anytime you can. It's ok to make several small trips to the grocery store instead of one big trip with the car -- in fact, shorter trips will probably mean less disatisfaction on your child's part, too.

Choose your stroller carefully, and don't be afraid to invest in another if you realize your basket is too small for shopping or the thing is too wide to get in store entries. Now that I have a preschooler and a toddler, I use a sit-and-stand stroller, and although it doesn't have much basket space, we hang grocery bags off the sides of it.

When I was concerned I was gaining too much weight while pregnant, my midwife suggested I pick up the pace with the stroller for at least 10 minutes a day, as in, walking so quickly I was out of breath. At the time, I pooh poohed her suggestion -- YOU find the energy to powerwalk while pushing a 25-pound toddler and carrying an extra 25 pounds around your middle. But now that I JUST finished losing some of that baby weight 18 months later, I wish I'd taken heed.

4. Stroll the fun, too. If your activity choices for the day are going to the zoo, a large children's museum or watching a movie, I think you know which ones will burn more calories. Also, your kids will be tireder and hopefully take a nice nap after.

5. Ride a bike. In the same vein as No. 3, if you invest in a baby seat or kid trailer you can bike a lot of your errands.

6. Pick up the pace of housework. Light housework burns 75 to 125 calories an hour. If you challenge yourself to move 50% faster, you'll get more done and get more cardio too.

7. Investigate gyms with childcare. You'd be surprised at how mentally refreshing an hour away from the kids can be, even if you spend it on the treadmill.

8. Join a stroller group, parent/baby bootcamp, or whatever it takes. OK, I'm too cheap and really not a joiner, but lots of people are motivated by joining a group. And if you join the right class, you can learn how to safely use your baby as a freeweight for arm lifts, leg lifts, sit ups, etc. At least until your baby is old enough to give you a withering look and crawl away.

9. Dance! My kids love it when I remember to turn on some favorite music and dance with them for a few songs every afternoon. It really breaks up the doldrums and it leaves me at least a little winded.

10. Trade your TV time for nookie. In case you need a push to engage in that all-important spousal bonding after the kids are in bed, remember that while doing "it" or watching TV might seem equally relaxing, only one of those recreational activities burns calories. Also, it's less tempting to stuff your face with Nutter Butters while doing "it."