We all want to fit and healthy and a decent diet and exercise goes a long way towards achieving that. Some single parents are put off however by the costs associated with fancy sports kit, gym membership fees and of course finding the time. Thankfully you don’t need to be flush to get fit as exercise on a budget is not only possible, it’s easy!
Despite the somewhat dodgy weather, we are very lucky in the UK to have access to plenty of fresh air and even city centres offer plenty of places for you to walk, power walk or even jog and run. There are some fantastic local resources that will help you map out local public footpaths, runs, cycle paths and more so it is well worth a Google to see what you can find.
Enjoy yourself, challenge yourself to go places that you’ve never been before and up your distance every time you go out, you’ll soon see the difference to your fitness levels.
What to Wear
Unless you have an endorsement from a big brand athletics company you can pretty much wear what you like when exercising. You don’t need swanky shorts, designer leggings, go-faster stripes or anything else. All you need (depending on the type of exercise you are doing of course) is a decent pair of trainers, some joggers, leggings or shorts and a t shirt (oh and a decent sports bra if you want to stop the girls getting hurt!).
There are a number of fabulous fitness trackers that tell you your heart rate as you exercise, how far you’ve travelled, how many calories you’ve burnt off and what colour underwear you’re wearing (we’re joking about the underwear part). When it comes down to it, unless you are a semi-professional athlete or working towards very specific health, fitness and training goals you’ll be fine without a tracker, particularly if you are looking to exercise on a budget.
People (including single parents) managed to get fit and healthy long before the invention of these wonder-trackers so don’t think that you need one as you really can do without. That said, if you have some vouchers left over from your birthday or have pulled together some savings and want to treat yourself you can get some fairly simple trackers cheap-ish, especially if you shop around (here at Dream Bear HQ we are fans of a good old-fashioned cheap and cheerful pedometer).
If you have a mobile phone, and many people do, have a look at the wealth of fitness apps that are available, many for free! There are a great number of very accurate pedometer apps which help you track your steps and more (provided you remember to activate it and keep it in your pocket etc) for example. MyFitnessPal has a free version through which you can track activity and food to help you keep track and MapMyWalk also helps you to keep track of distances and favourite walks/fun. It’s well worth taking advantage of these free apps if you want inspiration and to keep track of your progress.
Discounted Gym Memberships
Going to the gym may be an expense which is outside of your budget and if so that’s ok. You may certainly get fitter without going to the gym! It might, however, be worthwhile investigating the different gym memberships though as some are cheaper than you’d think. Some include freebies which offer additional value and others might offer discounts for people on certain benefits.
Swimming pools / local leisure centres certainly offer concessions, discount cards and more, or the option to pay as you go rather than having to fork out for a package deal. Do have a see what’s on offer before you dismiss gyms and community classes out of hand.
Exercise at Home
It’s pouring down, you don’t fancy the gym, your “best” exercise t-shirt has a spag bol stain of courtesy of your youngest and you really don’t feel that you can cope with an exercise class. What do you do? You exercise at home! Get yourself on YouTube (if you are thinking of trying Yoga this is a fabulous 30 day “beginner” yoga course that definitely gets you going) for a number of exercise classes from Zumba to step aerobics.
Use baked bean cans instead of weights, clear a space in the living room and enjoy some exercise at home (there’s always the stairs if you want to get those steps in!).
Exercise with the Family
One of the problems many single parents have when it comes to exercising is not having anyone else to look after their little ones. If this is the case for you, exercise with your family! Dance with them, walk with them, play sports together, go to the pool together; there’s no lack of ways to boost your fitness levels in a fun way when you’re with your family and again, many of them are free (or very affordable).
When it comes to getting the blood pumping, increasing your activity levels and of course boosting your health there are many ways to get around not having a lot of spare money, time or fancy sportswear! Have a think about what you want to do and find a way to make it work, you might even enjoy it!