If you’re a single parent, money, time and energy are often in short supply. Raising kids all by yourself means it’s tough to stretch your budget. Time is a commodity that belongs to your employer, and there are only a few hours to spend with your family every week. Your energy is spent keeping your kids safe, healthy, organized and engaged in school. It’s hard to be an effective and supportive parent if you’re constantly dealing with low energy and high stress. But circumstances prevent you from getting the consistent, daily exercise you need. So how can you, as a single parent, get enough physical activity?
For one thing, you have to get creative. Fortunately, many parts of your everyday life offer opportunities to improve your health and keep the weight off, and you can do these while saving money. They aren’t activities you’d do at your local gym, but that shouldn’t discourage you from finding ways to elevate your heart rate. It’s all about feeling better. Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also keeps you from using unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms and boosts your positive motivating emotions. 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.
Like most parents these days, your kids are probably involved in some organized sports or physical activity. Instead of watching from the sidelines and providing transportation to and from practice, get involved by helping them work on a jump shot or perfect a sparring move. It might surprise you how much 30 minutes helping your kids practice can elevate your metabolism and leave you feeling invigorated. Your children will get the exercise they need while enjoying quality time with you that might otherwise be hard to come by. Make sure you have the right equipment your kids can practice with, by looking for money-saving options at stores like US Games.
Keeping the house clean can be sheer drudgery, or you can make it work for you. Try pumping up your sweeping, mopping and dusting routine with some upbeat music while you tidy up and clean to the beat. You might also get the kids involved and see who can clean the most while everyone has fun showing off their moves. Consider adding some outdoor tasks to your impromptu dance routine, such as mowing the lawn and waxing the car. (Maybe the neighbors will join in!) When shopping for cleaning supplies, Walmart offers budget-friendly products.
Keep It Simple
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to mean a full-blown workout with high-tech elliptical equipment and a personal trainer. You can accomplish a lot just by keeping it simple. Buy the necessary gear at a one-stop shop that offers discounts. For example, with Target coupons, you can get items at an affordable cost without needing to venture online or to another store. You can keep the workouts simple, as well. Try going for a walk every day, even if it’s just up and down the street a few times, or jogging in place in five-minute segments. You can benefit from a series of brief workouts just as you can from one long and intense session.
Examine Your Lifestyle
If a lack of time keeps you from exercising, take some time to review your lifestyle and look for areas you can change that’ll benefit your health. That could mean overhauling your dietary habits. Instead of hitting the couch with a bag of chips and a bottle of soda after work, drink some water and jog in place while you watch the evening news or make dinner for the kids. If you don’t own a bike, consider shopping for an affordable one at REI. Then, try riding it to work or to the train station instead of sitting in rush hour traffic. You’ll get rid of a lot of frustration and feel better that you’ve eliminated hours of unrewarding, sedentary time every week.
When you’re utilizing these budget-friendly tips, it’s important to commit to movement, whatever that may mean. There are countless ways you can do that by working physical activity into your routine. The important thing is to do it every day, as much as you’re able. It’ll keep your weight down and your energy up, which is invaluable for any single parent.