Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

There’s nothing easy about being a single parent. You’re rushing for the morning bus, scrambling to get ready for a long day at work, getting a healthy dinner ready, driving to soccer practice, laboring over the evening’s homework, and falling into bed. As you’re finally drifting off to sleep, you awaken in a panic realizing you forgot to sign the permission slip for tomorrow’s field trip.

Too often, harried single parents don’t find time for themselves. While it may be counterintuitive, one of the most important things you can do for your children is to practice good self-care. Taking time for yourself not only strengthens your parenting abilities, but it also provides the opportunity to be a role model. If you’re eating healthy, your kids might be more likely to eat healthy. And, if you’re not exercising because you’re running their hectic schedule, they likely aren’t staying fit either.

Here’s how you can prioritize fitness.

Start by creating a fitness schedule. By scheduling your fitness time, you are prioritizing it the same way you would a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with the boss. Aim to spend at least 150 minutes a week doing a moderate to intensive workout. Consider inviting a buddy to join in your plan, this can add valuable accountability. Or, when available, encourage your children to follow along in your routine; this gets them used to incorporating regular fitness into their lives.

Join an exercise class. If you’re a single parent, chances are you might be thinking “How am I going to afford one more thing in my budget?” But adding a fitness routine to your life doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. Several sites are available offering a wide range of workouts from hardcore boot camp routines to less intensive yoga videos. Sites like even allow you customize your routine by selecting duration, fitness level, the type of training you want and equipment you wish to use.

If you’re considering a “live” gym or fitness class, do so only if you’re positive you’ll be sticking with a routine. In other words, make daily fitness a habit before committing to another monthly bill. If you do decide to join, make sure you watch for specials. Fitness facilities often run a reduced price trial period or other specials to encourage membership.

Invest in some inexpensive home equipment. You don’t have to run out and buy a $1,000 fitness machine to get in shape. There are plenty of items you can purchase for a home gym that will provide variety for your workout at a minimal cost.

? For as little as $10 you can get an exercise ball. Exercise balls focus on your back and abs to help strengthen your core.
? Traditional dumbbells can start around $15, and they can be used to strengthen every muscle group in your body.
? For around $50, you can purchase a balance trainer. Standing on the unstable surface works to engage the small stabilizer muscles throughout your body, improving balance and strengthening the core.

So, you’ve scheduled your time and you’ve set up your equipment, but are you still needing a little energy boost? Caffeine and energy supplements are something to consider. But remember, one of the biggest sources of energy comes from your diet. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, fiber, fruits and veggies, and water. These are a better source of energy and contribute to overall health.

Sticking to your new fitness routine will do wonders for your physical health, ensuring you’ll be around to take care of your children for years to come. Alongside the physical benefits, exercising will improve your mood, boost your energy, and improve your sleep, so you won’t be waking up in the middle of the night panicking over a permission slip. You’ll thank yourself, and your kids will thank you.