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Being a single parent means you have a lot on
your plate. Despite caring for your kids on your own, you still have to get
them ready for school, shuttle them to after-school activities, change diapers,
cook dinner, do laundry, and complete what seems like a million other tasks
throughout the week. So where does exercise come in? If you’re like many single
parents, you let exercise fall by the wayside. But, as we all know, physical
activity is essential for a healthy and long life.
Need time to exercise, but you don’t have any
time by yourself? Work out with your kids. For example, they
can stand on your feet while you do ab crunches or dance right alongside you as
you salsa by following a Zumba DVD. Put your baby in the stroller and go for a
walk or jog around the neighborhood.
When you have kids, finding your way to the
local gym isn’t easy. So why not use home equipment so you don’t have to worry
about getting to a fitness center? Try kettlebells or dumbbells for
strength training. If you want to tackle yoga or Pilates, use a yoga mat. Invest in an exercise
bike or treadmill to help pedal or walk away the pounds. Try a weighted hula
hoop and hula your way to fitness. Don’t let cost prevent you from building a
home gym. Search for gently used equipment at local consignment stores or yard
sales. Go to social media sites or other websites that advertise items for
sale. Second-hand exercise equipment is often less expensive and much easier on
the budget. Finally, complete your home gym with a Bluetooth speaker so you can
listen to your favorite tunes while working out. There are many quality
speakers available, and many cost less than $50.
a Gym When You’re Short on Cash
If you’re heart is still set on joining a fitness center, consider joining in
the summer. Many fitness centers waive enrollment fees during the summer months
since so many people prefer to exercise outside when the weather’s warm. And
you may even be able to negotiate a great deal to help you save some money. Try
joining a 24-hour gym. These gyms offer clients exercise equipment but no
extras. In other words, they may not offer showers or a smoothie bar. Besides
being open 24 hours a day, these types of fitness centers are cheaper than
their more glamorous counterparts. And some of them don’t require you to sign a
So now you’ve figured out the kinds of
workouts you’re going to do. But you have no idea when you can squeeze in a
workout. After all, you have dinner to put on the table, and your daughter’s
ballet class starts at 6:30 p.m.! That’s when you need to get creative with
your day. Try getting up 30 minutes to an hour before your kids wake up.
Squeeze in a 30-minute workout using a DVD or equipment from your home gym.
Find some free exercise videos on YouTube. If you’ve joined a
fitness center, ask a good friend or family member to babysit in the evening
while you go to the gym for some “me time.” Maybe you can fit in some exercise
after the kids are in bed for the night.
What if you don’t have 30 minutes of free
time? Divide your workout in half. Go for a brisk walk for 15 minutes during
hour. Then walk 15 minutes more when you get home. Get
the kids to walk with you. Using a bit of planning and imagination, you can
find the time to exercise even if you are a single parent.
No one says that being a single parent is
easy; in fact, it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. But that doesn’t mean
you should sacrifice your health by avoiding exercise. While everyone’s
situation is different, it’s important to find time for physical activity. You
owe it to yourself and to the children who depend on you. Examine your schedule
and lifestyle to determine what you can do to build a strong body, giving you
the strength you need to care for those you love the most.