A PSYCHOLOGIST stresses how important it is for parents to make time for themselves and be active, even if it's just for a few minutes a day at home.

I've got two young children and although I used to be really active, I now do no exercise, because I'm just too busy and feel guilty devoting time to myself. What's the best way of doing some useful physical activity when I'm looking after the kids most of the time?

Psychologist Emma Kenny says: "As a mum of two, I understand how you feel. There are so many competing pressures on your time when you're juggling a busy home life, and it can be hard to find time to get active.

"New research from Sport England reveals mums, on average, have only 1.5 hours of free time a day, with 30 per cent saying they have less than an hour spare to themselves, as household and family management take priority. In spite of this, I was amazed to hear that six in 10 mums actually feel guilty taking time for themselves to exercise.

"Mum guilt is a real problem. You may believe that looking after everyone else's needs is your main priority, but the truth is, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost, because that ensures you have the energy to look after those you love.

"Remember that taking time for self-care and getting active means you'll be a great role model to your kids. Research shows active mums have more active kids, and that makes for a healthier family and a fitter future — something every parent wants for their children.

"The good news is you don't need a gym membership to get your sweat on — you can turn your home into your very own gym. The This Girl Can website (thisgirlcan.co.uk) is a great place to go for ideas to get active. It advises that it all counts, you don't need to go to the gym, there are loads of ideas on free activities you can do at home using just the furniture, so you don't need any expensive equipment. They have instructions for coffee table press-ups and living room wall chair sits, so even if you have a space of just five or 10 minutes, you can squeeze in a strengthening workout."