If you’re a single parent living on a tight budget (both in terms of finances and time), it’s unlikely that your own fitness rises to the top of your concern chart. Sure, you’d love to get and then stay in shape, but life is just too busy. And you just can’t afford a fancy gym membership. Oh well, right?
Wrong. You can still focus on fitness. Here are some tips.
Make time for exercise
But you don’t have any extra time, you say. Think about it this way: we somehow find the extra time to do any number of things in our day-to-day lives if they are important enough. So the trick here isn’t really “finding time,” it’s designating exercise as something that’s important enough. It may help to use an app to schedule your time so that you can find that 15-30 minutes per day where you can squeeze in some fitness. Try one of these time management apps.
Work exercise into your already-set activities
Some days you won’t be able to find the time, however much you prioritize exercise. You must get into a routine of working exercise into the things you already have to do. Lifehacker refers to this as “reducing the time you’re not exercising,” which is a cool way to think about it. You have to have a meeting in the afternoon, why not make it a walking meeting? You have to go over some briefs in the evening? You can certainly read them while walking on a treadmill or even around the neighborhood. Make exercise where you typically don’t have any. For example, park further away at the grocery store and walk. Always take the stairs. Don’t take your preferred mode of public transport all the way to your street corner. Instead, hop off a couple stops early and walk the rest of the way home. Here are some more tips for fitting a workout into a busy schedule.
Turn a space in your home into a private gym
That’s going to be really expensive, right? You have to get a treadmill, elliptical machine, or a big bulky workout bench, right? Not even close. For not a lot of upfront cost you can equip a designated space in your home with all the equipment you need to get fit – and most of it is small enough to be easily stored in a closet when you’re done.
Here are some pieces of equipment you should consider: a yoga mat, kettlebells, a balance ball, and adaptable resistance bands. That latter item is a real workhorse and it’s cheap as can be. As Redfin.com notes, resistance bands can be used for pretty much any type of strength training exercise. Here are a few dozen great workouts using bands.
Get the kids involved
Since a lot of your time as a single parent is spent with your children, you can’t really afford to wait for a moment of “free time” to get your exercise in. That free moment may never come. Since hey Timmy, do you want to lift kettlebells with me is probably not going to inspire much excitement, you need to be creative.
If you have a baby or toddler, it’s a little easier. They can simply accompany you on a walk, jog, or you can keep them occupied with games or a movie while you squeeze in a workout. For older kids, you’ll need to actually get them to exercise with you. As Huffington Post notes, it’s easier to get kids involved if they are the ones picking the exercise. Remember – kids like games. They like being outside. And they like dogs. Playing a sport in the backyard, walking the dog, or going on a hike is a great way to get your exercise and get your kids excited about fitness too.
Gone are the days of excuses. Yes, you’re busy, but that’s no excuse. Your first step toward better fitness is to prioritize it. Once you decide that your fitness is worth it, it’ll be easier to find time to achieve it.
Written by Jason Lewis
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com