You’re a single parent, and time is the most precious resource you have. Between being at work, cleaning the house, cooking for your kids, and being a hands-on parent, you know what exhaustion feels like because you experience it every day. However, you’ve learned that exercise is a good way to recharge your batteries and have extra energy for all the activities you want to do while also making you look lean and fit. But the tricky thing is squeezing in an exercise routine between all your busy tasks and chores.

Here are a few simple methods to getting you started on the right foot.

Start by walking

The key here is to look at long, time-absorbing exercises, like jogging or rollerblading, as something you have to build toward slowly so that you go through a period of relaxation first and a slow transition for your body. When single parents start exercising a lot too quickly and too soon, their motivation plummets the next time they miss their scheduled day of exercise. Then, they feel they’ve let themselves down, and the disappointment makes them less likely to jump back on the horse again.

However, with just a brisk, casual walk every day, you are slowly introducing your body and your mind to the gradual goal of jogging, rollerblading, or playing a sport. This also is a great time for you to take along your pet dog so that she gets her exercise, too. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone and be walking companions for each other.

Eat basic, wholesome foods

Of course, having enough money to do your grocery shopping is important to you. But as a single parent, you always have to look to cut corners. A handy tip is to spend your dollars for basic staple food items, like oatmeal, flour, and vegetables, instead of fancy, packaged, ready-in-an-instant food products. Sure, it might take you more time to prepare wholesome meals for your kids, but when you understand that there is a direct nutritional link between good behavior, getting straight A’s in school, and diet, the more you’ll set aside time to cooking.

Turn your commute into a workout

You absolutely must get to and from work, right? Instead of driving your car or taking public transportation, consider biking, rollerblading, or jogging to work. With a little foresight, this can be made easier. Find a place to shower before you hit the office, such as a local spa or gym. Also make sure to take along a change of clothing.

When it rains or snows, do your exercise regimen at a gym instead. Yes, you may have to wake up earlier than usual, but this is no big deal, especially if your body has gotten used to the daily energy “kick” from exercise. In this sense, do your best to stay on schedule with your exercising-while-commuting routine.

It’s vital that you take excellent care of yourself in order to live as a happy provider, coworker, and human being. Squeezing in exercise into your tight schedule can really help you to secure a better and happier life.

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