No time. No energy. No money.
We get it — working out as a mum is hard. It’s also the best thing you can do for yourself. Active women report having more energy, better moods, and an easier time managing stress. Unfortunately, as a single parent, you’re usually the last person on your priority list. There are kids to feed, a boss to please, and if you have any energy left, a never-ending list of chores to complete. Between everything on your plate, how are you supposed to fit in trips to the gym?
Our advice: Forget the gym. What you need are ways to work out that don’t require a babysitter or a drive across town, like these no-gym-required exercise strategies.
Create a home gym
A home gym lets you exercise whenever you have the time, whether that’s an hour while the baby naps or 10 minutes while the coffee brews. You don’t need expensive equipment either; with these four things, you can meet all your fitness needs in your living room.
● Resistance bands: Resistance bands are ideal for stretching and light strength training. If you don’t have room for other strength-training equipment, resistance bands are the one tool you absolutely need.
● Plyometric box: Plyometric boxes are an amazing conditioning tool, and they’re also amazingly simple. Instead of spending $100+ for a retail plyo box, build your own.
● Bluetooth speaker: We admit, music isn’t strictly necessary for home workouts. But listening to a high-energy playlist is great for motivation.
● Exercise mat: The final step is a comfortable, non-slip surface for your workouts. Any exercise mat or yoga mat will do, but consider a larger mat for dynamic home workouts.
Not sure what to do with your new equipment? No worries: You can find countless free workout videos online at resources like FitnessBlender and HASfit.
Train for a 5K
If you prefer to exercise outdoors (and we don’t blame you!), give running a shot.
Running can be super discouraging at first — when you can barely make it down the block
without a stitch in your side, it’s hard to find the morale to keep pushing! If you want to make progress, you need attainable running goals.
If you’re a total beginner, sign up for a 5K that’s two or three months away. It will sound impossible at first, but if you start slow and increase your distance each week, you’ll be running three miles in no time. Once you’ve nailed the 5K, sign up for a half marathon to give yourself a new running challenge!
Depending on your children’s ages, you can run in the mornings before everyone wakes up or buy a jogging stroller and bring the little ones along. The only other thing you need to start running is a good pair of running shoes.
Get active as a family
There’s no reason to wait until the kids are sleeping or at school to exercise. You’ll fit more physical activity into your life and set a good example when you get active together. We’re not saying you should teach your toddler to lift weights! Instead, get the family moving with activities like these:
● Hiking: Hiking might be the cheapest way to get active. Not only are there are plenty of free and cheap local trails, but all you need to enjoy them is comfortable shoes, water,
and a positive attitude!
● Bicycling: Every child loves a bike ride, whether they’re riding in a carrier or on a bicycle of their own. Stay safe by riding on bike paths and always wearing helmets.
● Backyard sports: You’re never too old to enjoy a lighthearted game of tag or Frisbee. Make use of your backyard and neighbourhood parks to get out and play as a family.
Set yourself up for better workouts
It’s not just about the quantity of your workouts, it’s also the quality. That means making healthy choices for your diet and lifestyle that will give you the energy you need to work out effectively. Since your gut produces a great deal of benefits for your health, it’s important to focus on keeping it in tip-top shape.
Why your gut? It contains bacteria that help to make essential vitamins like K and B12. It can make your immune system stronger and your digestion function more efficiently. What’s more, your gut aids in weight gain or weight loss, depending on your habits. By choosing foods that will help, not harm, your gut — think yogurt, bananas, and miso — and changing up your lifestyle in more positive ways, you’ll feel better all around and will be motivated to keep pushing toward your fitness goals.
When it comes to staying active, it doesn’t matter if you do it in a gym, at home, or in the park. The important thing is that you find something that fits your lifestyle and stick with it. Whether that’s running, lifting weights in the spare bedroom, or just playing with the kids, as long as you’re moving — and pairing it with a healthy diet — you’re on the right track.
Founder of singleparent.info Alexis Hall provides an amazing resource for solo parents. You will find tips and advice on how to stay strong and healthy while trying to juggle it all as a single parent! Visit singleparent.info to find out more.