Finding the time to exercise is hard if you don't have a lot of spare time. If you’re a single parent, chances are you don’t have a lot of time to devote to your own fitness. Even if you do have a moment of free time, you’re likely exhausted from life’s never-ending responsibilities. And on top of that, getting in shape is expensive, right? What if money is tight? While it would be disingenuous to say that tending to your own fitness as a single parent is easy, it can be done. Here are some tips for the overworked, overbooked, and overextended.
Don’t put it off
One of the few times you’re likely to have some personal time on any given day are the early morning hours - before you have to make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, and head off to work. The simple fact is that responsibilities compound as the day progresses. The more you can squeeze physical activity into your early mornings, the more likely you are to actually get it done.
Learn some 15-minute workouts
You don’t need a fancy gym or an expensive exercise machine at home to stay fit. In fact, all you need is some motivation, a little bit of time, and maybe some basic (and cheap) accessories. There are tons and tons of 15-minute workout routines that anyone can do at home or at the office. Many require just your own body weight and a little bit of space to complete, while some can be performed with as little equipment as an adaptable resistance band (check out these easy exercises). These handy workout tools are cheap, durable, effective, and as Redfin.com points out, easily stored.
Combine relaxation and exercise
As a single parent you deal with stress on a minute-to-minute basis. This stress can actually sap your motivation to get fit. You can kill two birds with one stone by practicing mindfulness exercises that actually help you burn calories and tone your muscles. The obvious example here is yoga, but any routine that focuses on meditative body movements (like pilates, for example) is good. Some can even find mental respite in something like running or biking. Whatever activity helps center you and allows you to focus on the here and now is good for your overall mental health.
Build exercise into your daily routine
You don’t have to block out as much specific time for exercise if you can build it into your schedule. For example, take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Park further away at the grocery store and get some extra steps in. Hop off the train or subway a block early and walk the rest of the way to your destination. You’ll be surprised at how much these little tweaks will add up over time.
Get the kids involved
As a single parent, you probably don’t have a lot of kid-free time. So why wait until you do to get some exercise in? Kids are naturally energetic and most are thrilled to spend some quality time with their parents. Involve your kids in your exercise routine - whether it be jogging, biking, or playing a sport. Here are some creative ways to get in some physical activity with your kids.
Being a single parent is one of the hardest things on the planet. It’s typical for single parents to sacrifice their own well-being - specifically physical exercise. The good news is that getting in shape doesn’t require a lot of time or money. All it requires is the willingness to get creative.
Alexis Hall is a single mom to three kids. She created SingleParent.info to provide support and advice for the many families out there with only one parent in the household. She works as an in-home health nurse. When she isn’t working or spending time with her kids, she enjoys running and hiking and is currently training for a triathlon.
Photo Credit: Pixbay.com