Fun, Fitness and the Single Parent

Fun, Fitness and the Single Parent
Author: Alexis Hall of

Moms and dads know how difficult it is to find the time to take care of themselves. It’s even harder when you’re a single parent, but it’s perhaps even more important since you become the primary role model in your child’s life. Here are a few ways to establish habits that will instill healthy behaviors in you and your children.

Start the day the healthy way

Start each morning with a robust breakfast that includes healthy fats, lean proteins, and plenty of fresh fruits and/or vegetables. Establish a morning routine that places emphasis on both physical and mental health and wellness. Wake up a few minutes before your kids so that you can enjoy some quiet time to plan the day. Your schedule should include at least 30 minutes of physical activity for everyone in your household. There are a number of habits you should acquire for the early morning hours, including drinking water, exercising, and getting yourself mentally prepared for the day.

Sneak fitness time into play time

Fun and fitness are two “f” words that you want kids to know starting at an early age. But working out isn’t exactly what most kids consider a good time. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combine playtime and exercise time. This is especially beneficial if you have younger children who have plenty of energy to burn. Gather up the kids and go for a post-dinner walk, or hold a dance party in your kitchen. When the weather’s nice, make a game out of backyard cleanup or spend time playing games with the family dog. Parents magazine offers more ideas on how to exercise as a family here.


Create a home gym worth visiting

When you have kids, you have to schedule your personal activities around school, baseball, karate, chorus, and all the other extra-curricular events on your calendar. You can make it easier on yourself by investing the money you would spend on a gym membership into home-fitness equipment. Be selective about your choices and pick equipment that fits not only your exercise style, but your space as well. For instance, if you live in a small apartment, you might prefer a treadmill that folds flat against the wall. Don’t focus only on strength training or cardiovascular exercises, but provide yourself options for each. If you prefer to work out once the kids are gone to bed, invest in a kettle bell, which is a versatile weight you can use while watching television. Adding a few pieces of home gym equipment to your garage, workroom, or living room will encourage you to focus on your health so that you can be a better parent for your kids.


Teach priorities over preferences

Healthy foods and exercise equipment cost money. And as a single parent, that’s often hard to come by. However, you’ll be doing yourself and your children a favor by prioritizing your family’s health above everything else. Consider establishing a budget for health-related expenses, such as exercise equipment and nutritional supplements. U.S. News & World Report contributor Holly Perez asserts that the first step in creating a budget is determining which expenses are essential, such as food, rent, and utilities, and which are discretionary. Cut out unnecessary or wasteful spending, and channel that money toward things that increase your family’s overall well-being. You will teach your children how to prioritize things that truly matter, including their physical and mental health.

By making fitness a priority in everything you do, you will not only feel better about yourself, but you’ll be setting the tone for your children’s future. And with proper planning, even building a home gym isn’t that expensive. Investing in your own health is something you can’t afford not to do.

Fun, Fitness and the Single Parent

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