How Can Single Parents Make Time for Fitness?

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Regular exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise) along with twice-weekly strength training to prevent lifestyle diseases like heart attacks and strokes. While a healthy body is a compelling reason to stay active, it’s not the only one.

In addition to its physical health benefits, exercise is highly effective at reducing stress. While exercising temporarily raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, over time it enhances your body’s resilience against stress. And the benefits don’t end there. Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also boosts your positive, motivating emotions, too. Part of this is biology — the body is regulating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with seeing and feeling the results of your efforts.

What does this all have to do with single parents? When you’re trying to juggle a job, home, and family all at once, stress is inevitable, and how you deal with it influences your parenting.

Making Time for Fitness

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Even if you appreciate the importance of exercise, finding time for it on top of your other responsibilities is difficult. And if you’re like a lot of single parents, every bit of free time you do have goes to your kids.

If you feel guilty spending time on yourself, you need to reframe your thinking. Only by keeping yourself healthy in body and mind can you continue to rise to the challenges of single parenthood, day after day, year after year. And if you do it right, staying active doesn’t have to cut into your parenting time at all.

  • Exercise with your kids. No matter their age, there’s a way to involve your kids in exercise. During your walking, or when you go for a walk, use your baby as a weight, or play active video games with your kids. Outdoor recreation is a great way to stay active while having fun, especially as kids get older. Play badminton in the backyard, go on family bike rides, or try rock climbing together—the possibilities are endless.

  • Take advantage of down time. It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of time for a good workout. Even if you only have 10 minutes at a time, you can squeeze in health-boosting workouts. Make the most of early-morning hours and nap times with high-intensity workouts.

  • Use your lunch break. If early-morning workouts aren’t your style, why not use your lunch hour instead? Not only do lunchtime workouts make use of time you’d probably spend surfing the Web, but they’re also a great mid-day destresser.

Funding a Fitness Habi

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Sometimes the obstacle isn’t time, but money. But while costly gym memberships and fitness classes might have you convinced otherwise, working out doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need the most stylish workout clothes, the newest gadgets, or a personal trainer to exercise effectively. In fact, there’s a lot you can do with nothing more than a yoga mat and a pair of sneakers.

Walking, running, and bodyweight exercises are the ultimate form of free fitness. You can find an abundance of free fitness videos online, and exercise equipment can be acquired secondhand at thrift stores, neighbors, and friends. And other than a good pair of sneakers, workout clothes don’t need to be any fancier than an old T-shirt and shorts from the back of your closet.

Staying active as a single parent sounds hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Working out doesn’t require a ton of time or high-end equipment, and exercising actually gives you more energy, not less. All it really takes is a little bit of time, a lot of dedication, and knowing that a healthy, happy parent is the best parent.

This content was written by Alexis Hall. If you want get more information about it, please access singleparent