How to Exercise Being a Single Parent

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Founder of singleparent.info, Alexis Hall, gives single parents tips and advice on how to stay strong and healthy while trying to juggle it all as single parent! You CAN do it!

Nowadays, you can’t turn on the television or open a magazine without seeing something about the importance of fitness. Regular moderate exercise can have a significant impact on your health. It does so much more than just regulate your weight — it balances cholesterol levels, reduces your risk of stroke and heart disease, eases arthritis, prevents cancer, improves mood, boosts energy, revives the libido and even helps you sleep better.

So Why Aren’t You Exercising?

Being a single parent, chances are your time is pretty monopolized by your responsibilities. Between raising a family and working, having the time to work out can seem like a luxury. It’s not easy fitting in time to exercise as a single parent, but it is possible.

Adults need about 150 minutes of exercise a week — that’s only 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can do that! The secret to fitting it into your schedule is cutting down on the time-consuming aspects of joining a gym. When going to the gym, you have to arrange childcare or organize them to bring to the in-house facilities. Going to the gym requires the extra time to drive there and back. There’s also the time it takes to change and the various social interactions you may encounter. In the end, what was supposed to be a quick 30 minutes of exercising can turn into an hour and a half ordeal. As a single parent, you don’t have the time.

The Solution? Bring the Gym Home

Equipment to make your perfect at-home gym doesn’t have to be big or clunky. You can get a full-body workout utilizing easy-to-store solutions for fitness like dumbbells, resistance bands, balance trainers and more.

The Gear

  • Sports bras – Nursing moms who want to get back into exercise should look into nursing sports bras for added comfort. Thankfully, many companies offer savings on these nursing bras (and many others) through special promotions and sales.
  • Dumbbells – Dumbbells are pretty classic gym equipment. They are perfect for at-home use because most of the exercises do not require a spotter to accomplish. Create a routine that targets both upper body and lower body strength. Any time you work one muscle, also work its opposing muscles. For example, if you work your chest, you need to balance it out by also working your back.
  • KettlebellsKettlebells are the hip, younger sister to the dumbbell. Whichever one you choose is up to you, but the routine stays the same. Target both upper and lower body, always working opposing muscles. Check out this kettlebell routine from Muscle & Fitness for ideas on how they are used.
  • Balance trainer – A BOSU balance trainer can be used on its own or in conjunction with your dumbbells/kettlebells to add difficulty that improves balance and core strength. These beginner exercises are both fun and effective.
  • Resistance bands – Adaptable resistance bands provide traction in your movements so you can build strength with your own body weight more effectively. They are also great for helping you keep correct form when doing dumbbell and bodyweight exercises. When you work out at home, you need all the help you can get when it comes to accountability.
  • Suspension trainers – TRX suspension trainers take resistance bands to the next level. They are incredibly portable and equally effective.

If you are a single parent that wants to get back in shape, chances are that time is the biggest obstacle to your goals. Making your way to the gym and back takes more out of your day than the actual amount of time you need to exercise. Make it easier on yourself by bringing the gym to your house. With equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, balance trainers, resistance bands, and suspension trainers, you can have an effective workout from the comfort of your home.

Alexis Hall is a single mom to three kids. She created SingleParent.info to provide support and advice for the many families out there with only one parent in the household. She works as an in-home health nurse. When she is not working or spending time with her kids, Alexis enjoys running and hiking.

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