Late for work? Got crying kids? Dog spilled the laundry? Lunch not packed yet? How many times in a week do you go through these crazy ‘mommy-moments’ when all you want to do is drop everything aside, yell and just run? Probably 5 out of 7 days.
Understandably then, where does fitness figure into this scheme of things? Motherhood is difficult, and being a single mother is pretty much like looking after an army all by yourself. You have to be the friend, the storyteller, the car driver, the cook, the teacher, the nanny, the alarm clock, and every other role you can possibly think of.
Essaying all these roles and balancing work and other household chores can be extremely time-consuming and taxing. As a mother, fitness and self-care become the last priorities.
Aim to make this year different. When you are healthy and happy you become a better parent. To help you achieve this goal, here are 6 tips to save time and help single moms stay fit when on-the-go.
- Reserve a Little Early Morning Time for Yourself
You don’t need to rush to the gym or develop six-pack abs to be healthy. Just wake up without feeling rushed. Do some morning yoga or go for a walk to soak up some early morning sunshine. Even 15 minutes of physical activity in the morning can help put your body in the right gear for the rest of the day. Cycling is also a great morning activity and will keep you in good spirit for the rest of the day.
- Make Lunch Breaks Work for You
You don’t really need a 45-minute lunch break to eat your food. You can eat a quick lunch and spare ample to time to fit in some form of physical activity in your break as well. Instead of indulging in online shopping, gossiping about your colleagues, catching up on your favorite series, or just doing more work, go for a walk around the office.
Invest in a phone with good sound quality, put on the earphones and walk about in the squares and parks around your office. You will return from the break rejuvenated and with increased productivity levels.
If you are lucky to have a gym at your workplace, hit it in the lunch break. Even low-intensity cardio can help you stay fit and lose weight when done an hour or two after lunch. Do a couple of squats, toe-touches, and waist-bends on your desk, and you will slowly see the changes in your body and energy levels.
- Play with the Kids to Stay Fit
When you are already strapped for time, can you really assign an hour or two to your fitness regimen without feeling guilty about not spending that time with your kids instead? If your answer to this question is in the affirmative, you have other alternatives to stay fit.
Don’t let your kids keep you away from fitness. In fact, make them the reason to stay fit. Kids are so easily glued to smartphones and laptop screens these days that they miss out on participating in outdoor activities. Change the situation by giving them quality outdoors time. Take them to parks, run around with them, cycle with them, watch them play on the swing while you take a walk, and go for family hikes. This way, you will not only be keeping your fitness in check, but also become a fitness inspiration for your kids.
- Watch Your Eating Habits
If you are serious about staying fit, you will need to watch what you eat. The post-work cheesy pizzas won’t do, nor will your Chinese takeout. Switch to home-cooked meals to stay healthy. Put the crock pots and rice cookers to good use. Use lots of vegetables, brown rice, tofu, cottage cheese, and other proteins in your food. Use air fryers and microwave to make healthy snacks.
Don’t watch only what you eat, but also watch what you buy. If you buy healthy food for yourself and your children, the temptation to eat unhealthy will be much lesser as your mind will know that unhealthy options aren’t available.
Refrain from buying cookies, chips and other sugar-laden foods. Buy fresh fruits, vegetables, Greek yogurt, berries, nuts, whole wheat and oat biscuits, and other healthy alternatives. Your body will gradually crave only healthy food. Additionally, healthy eating habits will be inculcated in your children as well.
- Pay Attention to Your Sleeping Pattern
Agreed being a mom is tough, and sleep does not come easily when alarm bells for nappy changes, homework, soccer games and work deadlines are constantly going off. But, know that the less you sleep, the more your fitness, performance, and productivity are hindered.
It’s a natural tendency for mothers to get work done when the kids sleep. Doing the laundry, cleaning and scrubbing up, giving finishing touches to the office presentation, or simply watching reruns of your favorite show, we treasure these moments of solace at night, and often see it as our time to unwind.
The next morning, however, is all about hitting the snooze button and rushing through breakfast, barely managing to get to work on time and then undergoing the whole drill again. Is that what you really want? Or do you want to sleep well, wake up feeling fresh early in the morning, perform a fitness routine before getting down to the chores of the day, and be stronger and happier? There is nothing heroic or positive about not getting enough sleep. So sleep well to stay healthy.
- Include Small Amounts of Exercise
If you are not able to fit in an hour of exercise every day, worry not! It has been proven that short amounts of exercise can be beneficial to boost your fitness levels.
Walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift. Jump rope. It burns around 15 calories per minute. Always walk and talk when you are on the phone; you can do some squats too. Walk over to a colleague and talk instead of calling, texting or e-mailing them.
Even when you are sitting, increase your core strength and flexibility with roll ups. Get off the subway one stop earlier and walk to your office. These 5-minute exercises can contribute massively to your fitness in the long term.
Once you are able to combat the mindless munching and the overwhelming fatigue and exhaustion, you will be able to find ways and time to stay healthy and fit even as a single mother. So, get ready to duck the excuses, deal with the time constraints, and get leaner, meaner and fitter.
Korie Cantor has been working as a freelance writer for a long time. She loves sharing her opinions on parenting, lifestyle and frugal living. You can follow her at Google+