How To Workout As a Single Mom (11 Tips To Make It Happen)
Being a parent is hard, being a single parent is even harder. And trying to find time to exercise when you have a hectic schedule, little free time, and little people to take care of, can be a real struggle! But regular exercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Working out is so much more than trying to stay fit or reach your fitness goals. Regular exercise also improves the quality of your sleep, protects against many chronic diseases, and reduces stress, feelings of anxiety, and depression. Exercising and seeing the results of your hard work and effort also gives you a confidence boost.
I know that finding the time to exercise can be a challenge when you’re a single mom (or dad). You’ll never hear me say that getting your workout in will be easy, but the good news is, it can be done. Even when you don’t have a lot of time, have a clingy toddler, or have low energy levels.
Here are some tips and suggestions that can help make a consistent workout schedule a reality for you!
How To Workout as a Single Mom (Or Dad)
Make Yourself A Priority
A lot of moms feel guilty for taking time to focus on themselves. But your health needs to be a priority. When you’re healthy and happy you’ll be better able to care for your family. Not to mention the fact that making your health a priority is setting a great example for your kids.
Schedule The Time For It
Consider your fitness time to be just as important as any other appointment during your day. Block off time for your exercise and schedule everything else around it.
Get It Done First Thing
Waking up earlier in the morning may be the only way to get your workout in. Once the kids wake up, the morning is all about making them breakfast, brushing their teeth, getting them ready for school, making lunches, and so on. As the day goes on, the list of tasks that need to get done only gets longer and longer. That early morning alarm may be hard at first, but after a short while, you’ll start to treasure those quiet workouts and personal time.
Don’t Overthink It
With a never-ending list of tasks to be done each day, it’s easy to think about what else you could be doing with your time. As soon as you wake up, put on your workout clothes. Then tell yourself that this is something you have to do. You can even add it to your daily to-do list. That way you can have the satisfaction of ticking it off the list, once your workout is complete.
Learn Some Quick Effective Home Workouts
A membership to a fancy gym is nice, but not necessary when it comes to getting in shape. In fact, if you are someone that doesn’t have a lot of time, driving to and from the gym can eat up most of the free time that you do have. Learning some exercises that you can do at home and creating a workout plan that you can actually stick to will be way more effective when it comes to reaching your goals. And don’t feel you have to go spend a fortune on building a home gym. There are an endless amount of workouts you can do using only body weight, or resistance bands and dumbells. These small pieces of equipment are inexpensive and can easily be stored anywhere in the house. Keep reading to the end to see my favorite at-home workout routines and the fitness equipment I always use.
Make It Part Of Your Daily Routine
Finding ways to get extra steps in during the course of your day can really add up and help you reach any weight loss goals you may have. This could be walking the kids to school in the morning or home in the afternoon. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park at the far end of a parking lot. 10,000 steps a day is a good daily goal to aim for and using a good fitness tracker will make it easy to keep track of your daily progress.
Combine Relaxation and Exercise
At the end of a long, stressful day, strenuous exercise may be the last thing you can motivate yourself to do. Workouts like yoga and pilates can be a good relaxing option that put you in a more meditative state. They can be done quietly indoors and don’t require a lot of space.
Right now The Pilates Class is my go-to, but Youtube has thousands of yoga and pilates videos that you can watch without a subscription.
Exercise Whenever You Can
Even with the best intentions, the schedules we make for ourselves just don’t work out, for one reason or another. When this happens, being flexible will allow you to still work in some time for exercise. This could look like doing a yoga class while the baby sleeps, or if you are at work, going on a walk during your lunch break.
Find A Workout Partner
Finding another mom or just another friend with similar fitness goals is a great way to stay motivated. Being a mom, and a single mom at that, can leave you feeling isolated and even lonely at times. A workout buddy offers companionship, and a friendly sense of competition as well as helps hold you accountable.
Let The Kids Join In
Most single parents don’t have a lot of child-free time. But you can kill two birds with one stone by including your kids. You’ll get to spend quality time with them while getting your workout done, and the kids can burn off some of that seemingly endless energy. You can ride bikes together, or let them bike, skate, or scooter alongside you, while you go for a jog.
My son loves his scooter, so he rides it when we go out for long walks. I actually get a good amount of running in as well, since I have to run and catch up to him when he goes too far ahead.
Be Kind To Yourself
There will be days that life gets in the way of our best intentions and working out just isn’t possible. When this happens try not to be hard on yourself. Remember that you’re doing the best that you can under current circumstances and that tomorrow is another day.
My Single Mom Workout Plan
This is how I structure my “busy mom workout”. This is an effective home workout that doesn’t require a lot of equipment and can easily be worked into the day when you’re short on time, or even while traveling.
Pro Tip: Create a weekly workout playlist of favorite songs to help motivate you and make workouts more fun and enjoyable.
Workout Equipment For Home Workouts
Small dumbells between 5-20lbs are perfect for home use. You can start with a lighter weight and as your strength and fitness progress, buy heavier weights.
For leg workouts, 20-30lb weights are a good place to start.
And although more expensive than traditional weights, the weights from Bala are aesthetic enough to get you excited about your workout. They’re also perfect for making a yoga or Pilates class more challenging as well as your daily walk.
These small little bands might not look like much, but they can strengthen your muscles, and help maintain muscle mass as effectively as more traditional weights, without overdoing it.
A yoga mat will protect your joints from the hard floor or ground, while the grippy surface of the mat helps you stay in place while in awkward positions. If you have bad joints (like me) choose a thicker mat.
Jumping rope is one of the easiest and most efficient forms of cardio. It requires very little space and burns more calories than running.
A walking pad is much smaller than a traditional home treadmill. They pretty much serve the same function while taking up way laess space. Some are even small enough to slide under the couch or fold in half to store in a corner. Some may not go fast enough to run on, but they are a convenient way to get your steps in when you are unable to leave the house.