As a single parent, it can be tough to find the time to breathe, let alone participate in any reasonable fitness routine. But, your physical health directly correlates to your stress levels, which according to Adolescent Psychotherapist Katie Hurley, affect your children probably more than you know. Here are a few tips to help keep yourself in shape without breaking your budget and while keeping up your hectic schedule as a solo care provider.
Wake up 30 minutes early and get your blood pumping. If you’re an early bird, great. If you’re not, exercising first thing in the a.m. maybe just the push you need to catch the worm. Set your clock half an hour early and squeeze in a workout before your morning shower. Fortunately, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to burn serious calories. Health magazine asserts that this 30-minute workout, which features jumping jacks, side lunges, and modified sit ups, will blast away 350 calories in the time it takes to catch up on the latest episode of Young Sheldon.
Exercise with your kids. It’s unquestionable that children tend to emulate their parents’ behavior. It makes sense, then, to kill two birds with one stone by helping your child establish positive habits while keeping up with your own health and fitness goals. You can turn playtime into fun physical activities that are age-appropriate for your tiny partner. For instance, if you have an infant, don’t be afraid to grab your baby carrier and use your little one as an extra weight while doing squats. Older kids might enjoy gardening, bowling, or a simple dance party in the living room.
Create a home gym. If you have the space, you can turn an unused room or corner of the garage into a home gym that’s accessible 24 hours a day. Choose equipment that suits your exercise style. If you’re unsure of how you like to exercise, consider taking up yoga and investing in a yoga mat, which is an inexpensive tool that will define your workout space even if you’re short on room.
Look for opportunities for physical activity in everyday situations. There are opportunities to take the things you’re already doing and turn them into a mini workout, all you have to do is look. For example, take a walk during your lunch hour at work or park in the far corner of the lot so that you’ll be forced to get in an extra few steps each morning and afternoon. You can even sneak in a quick workout while being productive around the house by going the old-fashioned route and mowing the yard with a push mower or washing the car by hand.
Re-prioritize your schedule. Perhaps the most important thing you can do in order to accomplish your wellness goals is to simply re-organize your day. If you typically stop for coffee with friends each morning, skip three of those meetings in lieu of time for yourself to get a quick run in before work. You can also delegate age-appropriate chores to your kids and utilize that time for exercise. They will learn responsibility and you will keep yourself healthy and strong for their benefit. It’s a win/win situation.
While there is nothing you can do to add extra hours to the 24 you have each day, there are ways to stay fit without compromising your quality-of-life. Remember, you aren’t doing this just for yourself, but for your children, too. It may feel selfish at times, but putting your health and wellness at the top of your priorities list sets a positive example for your children. And as a single parent, it’s up to you to be your sons’ or daughters’ primary role model. Keeping yourself healthy is one way you can instill future habits in your kids while making sure you’re healthy enough to enjoy them now.