Single Parents Should Make Time For Fitness

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As a single parent, you might not feel like you have the time or energy to squeeze one more thing into your schedule, especially if it involves working up a sweat. But exercise can actually increase your energy level. Making your way from the sofa to a sweat session should get easier with patience, practice, and a positive attitude while giving you a boost all day long. And, there are even exercise routines that will get your kids up and moving, too. Start with these suggestions to find a fitness fit for your family.

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 Working out at home

 There are several exercises you can do at home with basic equipment. For instance, you can invest in a pair of light dumbbells and use them for upper-body strength exercises including bicep curls, tricep curls, and shoulder raises. Old-school options including pushups and situps are also just as effective today as when you did them during middle school gym class.

 Although some high-end yoga mats can cost upwards of $100, you can also find a wide variety of options for a fifth of the price. Several fitness companies also make mats specifically designed with kids in mind. So you and your pint-sized partners can count each other’s reps during strengthening exercises or stretch your muscles and minds during a yoga session. There are a number of free and cost-conscious videos and smartphone apps that can help you practice poses. 

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Joining a gym

 If your budget and busy schedule makes joining a gym an option, choosing a family-friendly fitness center is your best option. Depending on your kids’ ages, you might want to select a gym that offers its own childcare center or kids’ classes that will help keep them active and occupied during your workouts, according to the health website Verywell. Tour the gym and ask questions about fees and qualifications for instructors and childcare providers to help make sure the fitness facility will be affordable and comfortable for both you and the kids. Otherwise, a stop at the drive-thru restaurant will probably be a lot more tempting than a trip to the gym.

 Everyday exercise

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 Walking and running are among the easiest ways to squeeze fitness into a tight schedule and budget. And one or both activities can be adapted to suit kids and adults of nearly every age and fitness level. For instance, Parents magazine suggests scheduling a daily walk before or after dinner and making it more fun for your tiny tagalongs by incorporating games like I Spy. Or, sign up for a fundraising walk or run as a family to get some exercise for a good cause.

 Swimming is another family-friendly fitness activity, and adults and kids can practice in the pool or on a warm-weather vacation to an ocean- or lakeside lodge. There are a number of classes for exercisers of all ages to sharpen their swim skills, including some that single parents can take right alongside their water babies.

Aqua Fit - Water Aerobics

 This water-based workout is truly total body because it tones muscles and builds strength and endurance while exercising your heart and lungs, according to Healthline. So it’s no wonder a 160-pound person burns about 423 calories an hour by swimming laps at a low to moderate pace compared with 314 calories burned while walking or 365 calories burned aboard an elliptical trainer. Swimming can also help people sleep more soundly -- good news for kids and parents alike.

 Try these tips to incorporate more exercise into your single-parent schedule. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have your kids running to keep up with you for a change.

Three Fun Exercise Ideas for Those Living with a Disability

For those dealing with a physical disability, the idea of exercise may seem daunting or even impossible. Not only can exercise be a scary prospect for someone with a disability (pain, fear of failure, etc.) but many feel as if they will be limited to the point that it’s not even worth it. What’s the point of making an attempt at physical activity if it’s going to be so incredibly boring?

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get a good amount of exercise that aren’t that limiting to those with a disability. Here are some great options.

Swimming

Any list of fun, moderately strenuous exercises for those with a disability must begin with swimming. Water allows people with all sorts of physical disabilities the chance to do things that they cannot do on land. Swimming not only has physical benefits but it can also be a great stress-reliever and method of finding relaxation for those who may also have mental health disorders.

“Swimming is particularly valuable for people with disabilities, since the water allows them to move without assistance, an important discovery and experience for anyone with a disability,” notes MyHandicap.com. “Swimming has a very high psychological and therapeutic value for people with disabilities since the buoyancy relieves the strain on the body, allows them to move without assistance and stimulates all vegetative functions.”

Gardening

Gardening is well-known for its therapeutic value, as it’s one of the best stress-relieving and mood-enhancing hobbies you can participate in. But did you know that gardening can actually provide a pretty solid workout - even for those with disabilities?

“There are many ways you can alleviate or reduce some of the physical challenges that come with the territory, regardless of whether you suffer from arthritis, back pain or are confined to a wheelchair,” notes HGTV.

There is plenty of adaptive gardening equipment that makes it easier for those with disabilities to participate, including adaptive shears, rakes, and digging equipment. Those that have trouble kneeling can use short stools. Gardening is set up well for sitting on the ground and working, so it meshes well for those with lower body disabilities. The upper body and aerobic workout provided by many of the essential gardening tasks can burn upwards of 300 calories per hour - as much as walking!

Adaptive sports

If you think that traditional sports - from solo to team to even extreme - are off limits to you because you have a disability, then think again. Advances in technology have opened the door wide to those with disabilities who want to experience the thrill of sport.

If you live in a big city, it’s highly likely that there are dozens of adaptive sports leagues for sports like basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, and handball. Adaptive sports are basically traditional sports that have been altered in some way - either in terms of rules or equipment involved - to accommodate those with disabilities.

And when it comes to more extreme sports like surfing, skiing, and watersports (kayaking, canoeing, etc.) there is a lot of equipment out there to help.

When it comes to getting the recommended amount of physical activity, your disability is only as much of a hindrance as you let it be. There are plenty of interesting, thrilling exercise options out there if you are willing to do a little bit of research and invest in some tech/supplies. You’ll find that, with exercise, you will see a boost not only to your physical health, but to your mental wellness as well.

Written By: Travis White (Learnfit.org)