Are you a busy parent that wants to make time for working out? Been there. By now, we all know the health benefits of working out. We feel better, live longer, and have healthier lives. What I find even more important, though, is the “me time” working out provides. Time to just focus on myself and step away from working and parenting. Fitting fitness into a busy schedule provides a mental break from everything else in our lives that can feel overwhelming from time to time (or all the time). Here are 4 tips for fitting fitness into a busy parent’s schedule:
Carve out time around child pick up/drop off
If you have kids, there’s a good chance you drop off and pick up at schools or child care providers of some sort. One easy way to fit in a workout is to do it around this time in your schedule. If you are looking for a gym or fitness center, try finding one that is located near these locations. That way you can easily work time in before or after drop off or pick up times. If you’re not a gym person (I’m there with you), think about how you can fit in a walk or run around these locations. I was able to fit running into my schedule because I picked a running route that was close to my daughter’s day care. I would rush there after work, run, and then be on time to pick her up from day care. Remember, you don’t need to plan marathons or major workouts. A simple walk or jog around a neighborhood can be so beneficial. Do it for yourself!
Work out at home
The options for working out at home are endless nowadays. Take some time and think about what type of workout you want to do – strength train? yoga? cardio? dance? pilates? You can literally find almost any type of workout online and via apps. AND … you can even find free workouts galore on youtube. A few searches on google and you should be able to find something that appeals to you. Make the commitment to fit in a class before the kids wake up or in the evenings.
Make fitness a family function
Your schedule may not allow for much time away from the kids. If that’s the case, bring fitness to the family! It may take a little bit of effort and trial/error, but you can find activities that work for you and the kids. When my daughter was a wee baby, I would take her to the park and tow my yoga mat and free weights along with us. I’d do lunges with the stroller and let her play on a blanket while I did strength training along with an app. I got time outside, worked on my post-baby body, and she enjoyed the excitement and interaction. Now that she’s older, we take walks, go hiking, and bike ride together. When you make fitness a family function, you get quality time with your child(ren) and set good examples of self care.
Parents need alone (“me”) time on occasion. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of making a commitment to spend some time on yourself. Working out gives you that “me” time while providing so many other positive health benefits. If your schedule feels like something oppressive, and you simply cannot find the alone time, maybe you need to make the decision to get some help. Maybe you ask a friend or family member to watch the kids for an hour one evening. Or, hire a babysitter. Use your neighborhood resources to try to find a local babysitter that can come for an hour or two. It can take some time to find a good fit, but once you do it can be such a relief. I found a babysitter in the neighborhood that comes on the weekends occasionally so I can get a long run into my schedule. My daughter enjoys having someone else to play with and I get the much needed alone time. As a result, I’m happier, healthier, and able to be a better parent.
It sounds cliche, I know, but when it comes to working out … where there’s a will, there’s a way. The new year is around the corner, now is a great time to think about how you can improve your health and your life by making fitness a priority. It might take more effort, but single parents and busy parents of all sorts can make it happen. Do it for yourself!
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