Friday, March 23, 2018

Time Tidbits: A Single Parent’s Guide To Making Time for Fitness

As a single parent, finding time to stay fit can be a challenge. Factor in the costs that are often associated with fitness, and the idea of staying in shape becomes a mental marathon on how to make it all happen within your already exhausting schedule and obscenely tight budget. But making it work is important. 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. Here are a few tips to ensure fitness isn’t a sacrifice you have to make as a single parent.

Free For All

Finding free options is a good way to solve the budget problem, and walking is the best free option available. Taking a walk can can happen anywhere, it gives you a quick energy boost, and all it costs you is a little time. Backyard sports like basketball, catch, volleyball and badminton can also help you stay fit while incorporating the kids into the fun. Playing with your children at local parks or playgrounds (as opposed to just watching) is another great way to get exercise while spending quality time with them. If you already have a budget for fun activities with the kids, consider using it for fun physical activities instead of movies or the arcade.  Activities like bowling, skating, miniature golf, canoeing, hiking, and other recreational sports can be done for a small fee at local venues or state parks. You can pack a lunch and skip the expensive snacks and sugary drinks. Whether the kids are with you or not, there are other free options for getting in a little extra exercise too.  Park further away from the door at work or the store, consider walking instead of driving to complete short errands whenever possible, and don’t forget to take the stairs wherever you find them for a bonus calorie burn.     
Traditional Programs

If your needs are better met by a more traditional fitness program, like a gym membership, running, or organized sports, finding a program that works within your custody schedule and budget are critical to sticking with it.  Look for gyms that are open 24 hours and include a play room for kids as a perk of membership. If running is your thing, find a running group for single parents.  Not only will the group members totally understand the struggles you experience, and encourage you to continue running, but they may help you create a network of sitters that will ensure you can continue.  

If you prefer group fitness, or feel like you need an instructor to get the maximum benefits from an activity, consider finding a class that welcomes children.  Many yoga studios and pools offer sessions that either incorporate children or provide on-site sessions just for them in order to accommodate busy parents.  Just make sure in advance that kids are welcome, since leaving yours in the reception area while you attend class will be frowned upon by the business and the other patrons.  If you prefer team sports, find one that runs concurrently with activities your children are involved in, or consider becoming a coach or assistant coach for your child's team.  You can participate in drills and conditioning exercises with the team at practices instead of sitting on the sidelines watching.  If you share custody, an added bonus to coaching might be extra time each week with your kid.  

If you don’t get to see you child(ren) daily, making fitness an activity that works for both you and them can help justify the cost, and reduce the guilt that might be created by leaving them with a sitter. Bring the kids along, and it becomes quality time with them.  Not only are you reinforcing and modeling healthy habits, but it provides a chance to bond and really focus on what they are thinking and feeling. Then it becomes win-win for you: time devoted to your kids and your health. 

Photo Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment