Jun 26, 2019
If you’re a single parent, you know how hard it is to stay in shape, while trying to manage your kids’ school routine, health, sports, and everything else. You’re likely not paying enough attention to your own needs. But if you want to be there for your kids, you’ve got to be healthy. That means taking care of your fitness, too.
It might seem daunting with all the other obligations you have, but it’s also just as important. Making time for exercise is vital to your physical and mental health. Not only does it help you stay in shape, it also helps your brain by improving cognitive function and stabilizing your mood. After a good workout, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the world—and your kids.
Finding the time to work out is tough, but try to think of it as your job and make time.
Six Tips to Stay in Shape
Join a Gym
Many gyms these days have drop-off childcare, and kids often enjoy playing with other children while you work out. Some kids even get excited to go to the gym and play, which helps keep you honest about your workout. Some gyms also cater to families, so there may be family fitness classes and other things kids can do with parents, such as athletic leagues.
Build a Home Gym
You don’t need a lot of money to equip your home with fitness gear. To get a good start, buy suspension trainers, resistance bands, and dumbbells to use at home. You can get fitness DVDs for free at the library, or you can subscribe to streaming fitness videos that will provide a wide variety of classes from yoga to hip-hop aerobics. There are lots of free options on YouTube.
Take Advantage of Breaks
If your kids have another parent in their lives to visit, take that time to exercise. It’s tempting to use that time to clean or sleep, but make sure to take an hour to stay in shape. When your kid is at sports practice, spend the time walking laps around the field. Maybe other parents will join you, and you’ll make some new fitness friends.
Get the Kids Outside
Play with them, and you’ll get a good workout. Soccer, basketball, kickball, bike riding, and more are sure to get your heart rate up, as well as model a good lifestyle for your children. Swim with them at your local pool to keep up the routine. If the weather is frightful, check out some kids’ fitness videos on YouTube, and get the whole clan dancing in the living room. It also makes for good quality time with your family
Before you overlook that trampoline in the backyard as just something for the kids, you should consider bouncing on a trampoline as a natural form of exercise for yourself. Not only do trampolines help entertain and enhance your children’s lives, but they also do wonders for your cardiovascular health as an adult. In fact, you receive the same benefit from jumping on a trampoline for 12 minutes as you do running for 33 minutes. The next time your kids enjoy fun and games on the trampoline, take advantage of the opportunity to join them or even pick up a fitness trampoline to workout alongside them.
Take a Walk
Put younger kids in a stroller or running stroller, and go! If you have trouble with your kids sitting still, try taking them just before a nap, or spend some time getting them used to the ride. Start with small distances, and work up to longer trips. Older kids can walk or run along with you. If you have a dog, take him for a walk (or exercise with him!), which will help calm him down and teach the kids responsibility.
Remember that fitness is a lifestyle that you must maintain in order to stay healthy. If you’re active now, you will thank yourself when you’re 80. Your kids will grow up with an understanding that fitness is important, and they’ll live longer, healthier lives, too. If you can work out with your children, that’s extra bonding time you can spend together while staying in shape.
Author: Alexis Hall at SingleParent.info
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.
2 Responses to “Staying in Shape: A Guide for Single Parents”