When you’re a single parent, it’s difficult to find time to do anything for yourself. It’s even more difficult when the thing you want to do is stay in shape, but you don’t have the time, energy, or money to do so. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive ways that you can exercise. Best of all, there are things you can do to stay in shape as a family so that you won’t sacrifice time with your kids.
1. Walk as Much as Possible
When you are driving your kids from one activity to another, it’s tough to find time to exercise. But, if you use the time during these activities wisely, you can start walking while your kids are busy. If your child has sports practice, don’t sit in the car scrolling through social media. Instead, walk around the field or track, or do laps around the building during dance or karate class.
The key is to walk at a good clip for 30 minutes. All you’ll need is a pair of sneakers and a space to walk, and you’ll find that your mood improves, you’ll get a spark of creativity, your clothes will fit better, and you’ll decrease your risk of chronic disease.
If you have an especially busy week and find it tough to get in all your steps, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, park in spots far from the door, and use your lunch hour to walk. You also can go for a walk with your family on the weekend to explore your neighborhood, a new park, or a new nature trail.
Walking is one of the best ways to get in shape, and it doesn’t require any money. In fact, you can actually make money doing it: if the opportunity appeals to you, consider a dog walking side gig where you can pick up off-hour opportunities to walk neighborhood dogs and get paid.
2. Opt for Online Workout Classes
Chances are, you don’t have time to drive to the gym and don’t want to hire a babysitter to stay with your kids while you work out. A much more affordable option that won’t require you to leave your home is to find online workout classes.
YouTube has millions of free workout videos, and you’ll find one for just about any type of exercise, from cardio workouts to yoga. If you have 20 minutes to spare before dinner or in the evening after your kids go to bed, search for a 20-minute workout, and you’ll have more workout classes to choose from than any local gym offers.
3. Make a Home Gym
If you start getting into your online workouts, consider creating a home gym. With a few pieces of equipment, you’ll be able to get stronger and leaner and relieve stress and tension. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the right equipment to get in shape.
Adjustable dumbbells, a medicine ball, a yoga mat, and a jump rope are just a few of the inexpensive pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym. The kids will enjoy learning how to use them with you, and you’ll be an even better role model for them by showing them how important it is to stay in shape.
4. Get a Bicycle
Bicycling is a fantastic way for you to get in shape as a single parent because riding a bike is something the whole family can do together, and it’s something you can do alone when you want to challenge yourself to go farther or faster. Relaxing bike rides burn more calories than relaxing walks, and you’ll cover more ground on a bike than you will on foot. Give the kids a chance to pick the next route and spend a Saturday exploring new terrain as a family to have fun while getting in shape.
The best way to exercise as a single parent is to spend time with your family. You can stay in shape without spending a ton of money or time if you walk as much as possible, opt for online workout classes, make a home gym, and get a bicycle.
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Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.