No Time or Energy to Exercise?
Getting fit can make you a better parent, even if you’re handling the child-rearing duties all by yourself. Here’s how:
- Parenting is stressful, as you already know. One way to counter the effects of stress is to exercise. Vigorous physical activity releases natural tranquilizers called endorphins into your body, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). You’ll feel more relaxed and alert as a result.
- 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. This will give you the self-esteem and self-confidence to handle any challenge you face, including parenting.
- You set a positive example for your kids when you exercise. Children imitate their parents’ behavior, whether for good or ill. Seeing you taking care of your health will inspire them to do the same.
Despite these benefits, many single parents have trouble finding the time, energy, or money to exercise. So in this post, we’ll look at ways to overcome each of these challenges.
Finding the Time
The key to addressing this issue is to integrate exercise into other activities. Here’s how:
- Get off the sofa during TV commercials and do some jumping jacks, pushups, or squats as a family. Encourage your kids to get into the act and reward them for doing so. This is one way to form healthy lifelong habits.
- Limit daily use of TVs or computing devices to avoid impinging on exercise time. An alternate strategy is to allow internet or gaming time only after completing the daily workout.
- Keep a gym bag in your car if you have a fitness club membership. This can help you to take advantage of exercise opportunities as they present themselves, according to HuffPost writers.
Finding the Energy
It’s the old chicken-and-the-egg dilemma. You need exercise to feel more energetic, but you can’t exercise because you have no energy. Sound familiar? Here are some suggestions for tackling this problem:
- Start slow and short. Even a few minutes of exercise can lead to longer, more vibrant workouts down the road.
- Get some shut-eye. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, according to Harvard Medical School’s Healthguide website. Adequate rest is essential for having enough energy for exercise.
- Avoid trying to drown your fatigue in so-called “energy drinks,” which can dehydrate your body and rob you of much-needed energy.
Finding the Money
Money is one resource that most single parents have in short supply. So we understand that your workout budget is limited. Here are some strategies for dealing with this issue:
- Check with your employer’s HR office for employee discounts on fitness memberships and other health-related expenses.
- Keep an eye out for money-saving specials. For example, many fitness clubs offer reduced rates for new members, especially around New Year’s.
- Turn a corner of your home into your gym, either by investing in home fitness equipment or by going at it old school with pushups, situps, squats, triceps dips, and other freehand routines.
- Plunge yourself into the great outdoors by using a local park as your fitness headquarters. Get your kids into the act by integrating exercise into their playtime.
Staying fit is always challenging, doubly so for single parents. But you can rise to the challenge with the tips outlined in this post. So give it your best shot and keep your eyes on the goal. We wish you all the best.