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Author Bio: Alexis Hall runs SingleParent, a site that provides parenting advice for single parents.

If you are a single parent, you have one of the toughest jobs out there. You may be juggling work, dating, and getting the kids to all of their practices, and the world expects you to do this gracefully and with a minimum of help.

However, if you take a step back and look at the big picture, it pays to stay in shape. After all, you need to keep up your strength and energy levels just to get through a typical day. But where do you find the time, energy, and money to stay in shape? Read on for some tips on how to manage it.

 

Organic Exercise

Really, the best exercise is what you can get without going to a gym or taking a lot of time out of your day. Many people have sold us on the idea that we have to get up at five in the morning and go jogging to stay in shape.

You don’t have to do that. Consider how you get to work. If you have a 10-minute or less drive, it might be just as quick to bicycle to work. You won’t have to search for a parking space, and you will avoid even the worst traffic jams. If you aren’t into bicycling, ask yourself whether you could get up earlier and walk to work.

Once you are at the office, use the stairs, not the elevator. This may give you up to fifteen minutes of exercise a day. Walk, don’t drive, to lunch or after-work drinks with friends. According to NBC, walking is the most underrated exercise, but it’s great for balance, all-over body strength, and stamina.

Look at weekend errands from the point of view of exercise opportunities. Could you and your children walk to the child-friendly pizza shop? Could you walk to the convenience store for that gallon of milk? Running errands on foot or on a bicycle often takes only a few minutes more than driving, and you are saving money on gas that you can then spend on exercise equipment. The most important thing is to find something fun and stick with it — whether it’s yoga, jogging, or just walking.

Dumbbells

One of the easiest and cheapest workouts is lifting weights. Hold on, there! We’re not necessarily talking about bench presses at a gym or devoting a whole room of your house to racks of barbells. One- to five-pound dumbbells (also known as hand weights) are portable, don’t take up a lot of room on your shelf, and are surprisingly versatile. You can crunch a dumbbell in odd moments, such as while you’re on the phone with your mother or while on hold with a company.

You can take a dumbbell to work and do a few quick presses while you’re on a break. Dumbbells don’t draw a lot of attention to the fact that you’re working out at the office, and you can do a two-minute workout at your desk when you’re stressed.

If you are incorporating more walking into your life, take a couple of dumbbells with you and add an arm workout to your walk. Dumbbells make your walk more of a heart workout while building upper body strength.

 

Kettlebells

If you want to kick your weight lifting up a notch, many fitness gurus swear by kettlebells. These weights sport a handle that improves your grip strength and builds up total body strength.

Kettlebells are really heavy, so you have to be careful with them. A kettlebell workout should take place on a mat or outside on grass or sand so you don’t damage your floors. It’s a good idea to get a trainer to show you how to use them.

Start out by sliding the kettlebells off the rack or shelf and controlling their fall to the floor. Then, raise yourself and the weights into an upright position. Go easy starting out in order to avoid pulling a muscle.

Finding the time to exercise might not be as difficult as you think, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a healthy body. You can even purchase some simple equipment and create a home gym for your workouts. By incorporating exercise into the rhythm of your day, you will be surprised at the results you get.

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