Everyone knows how important daily exercise is these days, but for single parents like us, finding the time, motivation, and money to stay in shape can be difficult. When you’re tired after a long day and want nothing more than to relax with a good television show binge, it can be hard to find the energy to get up and workout.
However, finding time to get active everyday can help you feel better and can even improve your energy levels. You don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill or drop serious dough at a gym, either; you can incorporate your favorite hobbies and sports, get moving with your kiddos, and even create a home gym that will allow you to workout in the privacy of your own home for next to nothing.
The key is to get creative and think about what will work best for you. It’s not always easy to give up your free time–what little there may be of it–but if you stick to a routine and find ways to make it fun, you’ll be able to keep it up. Here’s how.
Make your own home gym
I was skeptical about this at first, as I’ve fallen many times into the trap of buying expensive equipment that ends up gathering dust in a corner. After all, single parents are responsible for keeping everything going, and that’s hard work! I figured I’d worked off enough calories for the day just by making multiple trips up the stairs while cleaning, and while housework can be a good way to get up and get active, that alone isn’t enough to get your heart rate up to where it needs to be.
Making your own gym area doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to have a huge basement, either. Invest in a good yoga mat, some dumbbells, and a balance trainer, which will give you a good variety in your workout. Yoga is great for just about any age or mobility level, while dumbbells will help you work on toning and strength. For more info on how to build your perfect home gym, check out this great Redfin.com article.
Get your kids involved
If you’re running short on hours in the day, welcome to the club! No, seriously, there are some simple ways to get in some exercise even when you have a full schedule. One of the best–and most fun–is to get the kiddos involved by playing a sport or getting outside for a while. Go for a walk after dinner, kick a soccer ball around in the yard, take a hike, or go for a swim. This way, not only will you be getting your heart rate up, you’ll be spending quality time with your little ones. Read on here for tips on getting in a workout when you’re a busy mom.
Set your alarm a little earlier
I know, I know, it sounds like torture, but getting up even fifteen minutes earlier will allow you to get in a bit of yoga before your day begins. Later, take a quick walk around your office building or run up and down the stairs for fifteen minutes. Breaking up your workout is a great way to get in some activity no matter how busy you are.
Don’t be seduced by fancy gym clothes
Activewear is a booming business these days, but it’s unnecessary to spend a fortune on yoga pants and sports bras if you don’t have the extra money. Workout in whatever is the most comfortable for you, whether that’s a loose t-shirt and shorts or a leotard, and keep your cash where it belongs…in your wallet.
Remember that finding the time and energy to workout when you’re a tired single parent can be difficult on good days and overwhelming on bad ones. Practice self-care as often as possible and allow your mind and body to relax now and then to keep stress at bay.
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 triathalon.