Tips on exercise and healthy choices from a single parent

Maintaining motivation to stay healthy and active may seem daunting enough, yet adding the challenge of supporting and looking after a child can take it to a whole new extreme. No longer are you trying to maintain just your own health, putting time aside for yourself, but placing another life before your own. With this, grows strength and challenges one would otherwise not learn and inspiration can be gathered from the smallest of things. Imagine doing all this at the mere age of 22, single parenting and in the simplest words “just rocking it” – This is exactly what young mother Sarah Lewer from Wellington, New Zealand powers through every day. Sarah shares some of her greatest tips and tricks with health and fitness as she tells the story of herself and Theo, her beautiful 8 month old baby boy.

What exercises do you do to maintain your health?

Sarah: I take Theo for a walk everyday, having an eight month old who is constantly on the move is basically my cardio. Continuously holding 10kgs of ‘utter cuteness’ covers my weights.

Using your baby as a weight may sound a tad extreme to some, yet has a fantastic quirky article on ‘10 Fun Excercises to Do with Your Baby’. The workouts are simple yet effective that’ll help you lose weight, tone muscles and have fun spending quality time with your little bub.

What do you love to eat to maintain your health? Any favourite food or recipes?

Sarah: Veggies, veggies, veggies. After Theo was born, I became really lazy and was living off takeaways but as I did, I noticed a huge drop in my mental health and my skin was horrific. When I make up Theo’s food prep for the week I also make me up stir fry veggies so there is always some ready.

It can be difficult to think off recipes that will provide all the nutritional requirements and also be able to obtain calories from healthy sources that your baby will need. This is the vital time the child will need the most for growth and development. Try out home made baby foods for a huge variety of meal ideas that not only teach you some fantastic simple recipes, but educate you in what vitamins and nutritional benefits your baby will currently need the most.

Do you have an favourite physical activity or hobby?

Sarah: I absolutely love bush walks. I put Theo in the front pack and just walk and walk and walk. He also enjoys it because there are new things to see, touch and hear. Always a new experience.

The thought of taking your child on a hike may seem a little scary at first as you instantly overthink all the circumstances that can go wrong. have some amazing tips on those wanting to try hiking with their little ones. The article includes great tips on how to find the perfect safe location, what to bring and other wonderful tips and tricks.

What do you mentally do to unwind and have time for yourself?

Sarah: Sleep when he sleeps, as I have interrupted night sleeps an extra hour during the day helps me be less anxious. Also writing, it sounds silly but I have a journal full of letters I’ll never send. I find that putting my feelings on paper gets them out of my head and allows me to relax. I also go to support groups and I find after leaving those I feel my most at ease.

Mindbodygreen quote “Just as mindfulness can strengthen creativity, creativity can strengthen a mindfulness practice. Getting into the habit of writing down your observations in a journal can help you practice noticing.” Have a read further to learn some other fantastic ways of creating mindfulness and giving yourself the space and time you deserve.

What keeps you motivated to stay healthy and active?

Sarah: My little boy. It is an advantage that I am a young mum but a disadvantage that inevitably I will still get older so the more I do now to keep healthy, the longer I feel I will have the energy and be active enough to chase him around. They say having a child will change your whole life and it truly has. Before Theo I never thought about my future health and how my mental health affects my entire world. He was the wake up call I needed.

Incase you do need a bit more extra push and motivation, look into getting a personal trainer for once in a week or even once a month. Personal trainers, help to set the right goals, exercises and keep you accountable and staying on track. You can try to get one from your closest gym, or search personal trainers around you with apps such as Pummel Fit

Do you have any tips on how to balance the lifestyle?

Sarah: With a baby it’s hard and being a single mum even harder. It’s so easy to just get caught up in the day to day life stuff. Take an hour everyday for yourself as they get older that hour will increase.

So with these words it is clear that although a challenge, it is nowhere near impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your little one. Preparation is vital, whether it be food, group therapy sessions, or even naps. Preparation helps you steer away from temptations and also makes your stressful, unpredictable day that bit more organised. Stick with your passions and learn to incorporate them into your daily routine, having a child does NOT mean you have to give up all your once loved activities. A gym funnily enough is the last thing needed as you can surround yourself with fresh air that’ll bring new and exciting experiences to the both of you. Make the most of your surroundings whilst you grow with one another. Take the time to give yourself a break. Mindfulness and a few moments out of each and every day can give you that final push you need to excel with your health physically and mentally. Inspire others by inspiring yourself, let your little one be your greatest motivation.

This post was curated by Jess Baider
Photocredit :Photo by Valeria Zoncoll on Unsplash