Being a mother is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have. Watching my son grow and blossom every day, teaching him how to be a man, and seeing pieces of myself emerge in his personality fills me with an indescribable joy, and satisfaction unlike anything I ever could have imagined prior to his birth.
However, there are days when I yearn for the more carefree days of my youth, when I had unfettered freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted. As a personal trainer, I have always valued the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle, but some days, I’m lucky to get a few stretches in before my day begins. From the time I wake up to the time I crawl into bed, my day is full of work- and family-related responsibilities, leaving little – if any – time for myself.
However, I am starting to figure out tricks to making time for myself. As a single parent, this is especially important, as I need to maintain my health and wellbeing in order to be a better parent to my son. Here are some tricks I have learned for sneaking in fitness:
- Keep a pair of hand weights easily accessible, and do reps when sitting at your computer, watching television, etc. There are also many simple exercises you can do anytime, anywhere.
- Buy home gym equipment or exercise videos. You can often find coupons that will make this an affordable option.
- Find a Mommy and Me exercise class or workout video. This will keep you in shape and teach your child the importance of fitness.
- Go for walks with your child. This will benefit you both immensely, and create lasting memories.
- Roughhouse with your child. Studies have shown that roughhousing with your children is beneficial to them, and anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving is beneficial to you, as well.
- When running errands, park at the back of the lot and walk, and take the stairs whenever possible. If your child’s legs become tired, offer to carry them for a boost to your workout.
- Crank the music and dance! This will provide a good cardiovascular workout and improve your child’s coordination at the same time.
Being a parent doesn’t have to be a serious or difficult affair. Too many people overthink things and worry too much. If you focus on setting a positive example for your child, you will be able to maintain your autonomy while still being an effective parent, and your children will flourish as a result of your efforts. Making fitness a priority will lower your stress levels, and teach your child to care for their own health, as well, which is one of the most important things you can do for them.
This article is a guest post: Nan Gibbons is a licensed personal trainer and nutritionist who owns her own fitness and training company in San Diego. The proud single mother of her three year old son Reid, she understands both the joy and chaos that come with parenting! Check out her blog at: http://www.eatbreatheblog.com or follow her on Twitter: @healthnut2011