Top 3 Tips for Single Parents to Find Time for Fitness

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Thank you to Dana Brown of for contributing another great article!


Finding the time, energy, and money for working out when you’re a single parent is no easy feat. As parents, we often put our kids first, which means some of our needs like exercise may fall by the wayside. When you realize that exercise is a need and not just a want, it’s easier to make it a priority. Here are the top three ways to make that happen so that you and your kids all benefit.

  1. Get Yourself in Gear

Parenting is exhausting, so the thought of summoning the energy to exercise may be holding you back. To overcome that sluggish feeling and get yourself moving, reshape how you think about exercise. Instead of looking at it as a luxury, look at exercise as a necessity for your health. Instead of looking at it as a chore, find ways to make exercise fun so it’s something you want to do. The way you think about exercise is the number one factor that either holds you back or helps you dig in and find the energy to make it a priority. Once you get started and make a schedule that works for you, you will enjoy the boost of energy that will keep you going.

2. Get Creative About Finding the Time

As a single parent, you have multiples roles to juggle and minimal time to fit everything into your busy schedule. One of the best ways to find the time is by involving the kids in your workouts. According to PBS, exercising with kids teaches them valuable lessons that they will benefit from for years to come. Here are just a few tips for how to work out with your kids:

  • If you have little ones who will stay in a stroller, use a jogging stroller to go for a run. Some communities even have stroller fitness groups you can join that incorporate other workouts along the way.
  • If you have a dog, invite your kids to go walking with you when it’s time to take Fido for a stroll. If you don’t have your own pooch, you can offer dog walking services to your neighbors (which will earn you a little extra money). Your kids will want to get moving if you turn pet-parent duties into outdoor adventures that involve a furry friend.
  • If you have older kids, find a sport or other activity you all enjoy doing together, like soccer, biking, or hiking.
  • Today Parenting suggests fitness playdates. Getting together with other parents to work out will help motivate everyone, and the kids will get to have fun with friends at the same time.

Working out with kids is great, but sometimes you need to do your own thing. For some parents, getting up early is the best time to fit in a workout. If that doesn’t work for you, squeeze your workouts in while the kids are doing their activities. Look at this as your designated workout time so it becomes a regular part of your schedule.

  1. Do Workouts that Pack a Punch

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to make fitness a part of your routine is to work out from home. With a little planning and a few simple pieces of exercise equipment, you can do a full body workout at home that delivers all the same benefits you could get at a gym. The key is to be intentional about choosing workouts that give you maximum results for your time. These 10-minute kettlebell workouts use total-body movements, get your heartrate up, build strength, and burn calories, so you are truly making the most of those 10 minutes.

Besides getting a full body workout, sometimes you simply need a mood boost. Any exercise is good for emotional balance, but these double duty workout moves maximize that effect. Grab a yoga mat and focus on your breath while doing these moves for an instant benefit to mind and body that will stay with you throughout the day.

The reality is that exercise doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Making fitness work for you as a single parent may not be quite as simple as dropping by the gym after work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it happen. Just like everything else when you’re parenting solo, it just takes a little creativity and determination. Once you find the right routine for you and your family, the results you see will make you so glad you did.

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