When you’re rushing from a board meeting to a school play, or from a sales pitch to the supermarket, it can be difficult to see how any kind of exercise is going to fit into your busy schedule.

Exercise is often the first thing to go when we’re sifting through all our priorities as career women. But in fact, it’s precisely at this busy life stage that it’s more important than ever to find time to exercise.

Ashleigh Iovino is a personal trainer to mothers and women through her company FitMom. She believes that exercise is one the best stress relievers and energisers around – particularly to busy working women.

“Working in a high-powered job requires some form of ‘me time’ in order to cope and give your best,” she says. “Exercise clarifies thought, gives perspective, and positively contributes to your overall wellbeing and success.”

Lindsey Makrygiannis is the mother of two young boys and is the Financial Director of a media company. She started exercising again recently after a long hiatus that began with pregnancy. “Getting back in shape has made me feel so much better about myself, and that positivity has improved the way I approach all aspects of my life, including my work,” she says.

Lee-Anne Scott is mother to two young children, and is an Executive in the Global Markets division of a leading bank. She makes fitting exercise into her life a priority because she believes that it contributes not only to her physical wellbeing, but her mental health too. “I feel fit, strong and generally more energised after a run,” she says. “I feel confident and better equipped to tackle whatever the day brings.”

READ MORE: 3 celebrity mums share their fitness inspiration

Some of the benefits they’ve experienced include:

More energy and better sleep

“Exercise has also helped me sleep better, so I have more energy and am able to focus on complex issues and make better decisions without relying on coffee to get me through the day,” says Makrygiannis.

Connecting with like-minded individuals

Iovino says that in order to fit exercise into a very busy schedule, it needs to be prioritised and booked into your diary. “A training partner who will hold you accountable is a good idea, especially if you train early in the morning,” she says.

Makrygiannis agrees, adding that having someone waiting for you at an appointed time keeps you committed. “It also means that your exercise is in the family diary,” she adds.

Scott makes time to run early in the mornings with her running group before work . They set off at 5.20am, run 10km and are back within the hour. “I don’t have to think about it too much – it’s convenient to get to, the route is planned and there is a run every day except Mondays,” she says. Running also provides her with the opportunity to connect with others.

Stress relief

Exercise gives you a chance to release the stress that comes from managing work, home, kids and all the competing priorities working mothers have, plus it will give you a fresh perspective on the week ahead. “Given that I’ve worked so hard in the exercise session, it also helps me make much better health and wellness choices during the week,” says Makrygiannis.