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A Single Parent’s Guide to Fitness: Money and Time Tips for Staying in Shape

If you have little ones at home and you’re a single parent, you probably feel like you’re running around all over the place, all the time. Here are some ways to fit exercise into your life so that you’re healthy, and your kids are too.

The first thing to do is to make sure that you schedule time for exercise. No matter what type of exercise you choose, you won’t do it if you wait “until” you have time. You have to make time by putting it on your calendar like other important appointments. If you have difficulty finding an hour or 30 minutes, then do 10- or 15-minute blocks a few times a day.

The key is to think about how you can use the time you’re normally not exercising to add some movement into your day. If the kids are still asleep, do a quick workout before getting them ready for school. Are you waiting on the kids during their activities? Don’t sit; do squats. Talking on the phone at work? Walk around your office while you make calls. Take a walking lunch break, or the stairs instead of the elevator. If you live close, walk the kids to school instead of driving them. Park farther away from the door. Think about the times that you’re sitting or still, and figure out how to add some movement there. Soon, you’ll be more active on a regular basis.

Another idea is to take your kids with you to a child-friendly gym. If you’re working out and they’re being taken care of, you’re less likely to feel guilty about spending time on yourself. Plus, you’re modeling good behavior as they see you taking care of yourself in order to better care for them, and you have more energy from your healthier lifestyle. If your kids are older, take exercise classes with them or work out with them at home. Little kids can do yoga and love to dance and move around. Older kids can work out with you using weights or by running or walking. You might need to adjust your speed or some of the activities, but doing them with your kids will make it more fun.

Single Parent 

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Like these ideas but think that you can’t afford to do them? Think again. You don’t need an expensive gym membership. Look into family rates at the YMCA, or exercise at home. You can get simple, time-tested equipment for very little money. Stability or medicine balls are inexpensive and add diversity and difficulty to your workout. A small, flat bench and jump rope are also easy, cheap additions to your repertoire. Basic barbells and resistance bands are some of the best equipment that you can use, and they don’t cost very much. In fact, resistance bands are usable by just about anyone at any fitness level since you determine the level of energy you put into using them. People in physical therapy or just starting an exercise program can use them lightly and then more as strength increases. 

The most important thing to remember is that you’re trying to live a healthier life so that you can be there for your kids. They will see you getting healthy and will probably want to join in on the fun. Whatever it takes for you to fit exercise into your schedule, that’s what you should be doing, without guilt. Need to hire a sitter or ask Grandma to come over for a while so that you can get out for some “me” time? Do it! The healthier you are, the healthier your children will be too. Win-win!

Guest Author, Daniel Sherwin

Full credit

Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At Dad Solo, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood. He wrote a blog for us, packed with great tips for single parents who need to save time and money.


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