The words ‘keeping fit’ and parenthood are not normally seen together in the same sentence – and for good reason. From the moment you have children, your life is turned upside down by the physical and emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood and keeping fit can and does, take a hit in terms of being a priority.
The Challenges of keeping fit
Here’s the bad news if you have young children – you don’t necessarily end up with more time as they get older. They become much more socially active (parties almost EVERY weekend) and between sports clubs and weekly music lessons, you very much take on the role of a taxi driver and chief cheerleader.
It’s challenging no matter what age your children are. So, it’s no wonder that becoming a dad means your exercise regime suffers as your children literally throw your usual schedule out the window. Rest assured you are not alone if you feel like you have less and less time to commit to exercise. Long term studies in large groups of young adults, in the USA, found that exercise declines with age but it takes the biggest hit when children arrive – despite the fact most parents feel like they are constantly on the go.
We’ve established exercise is slightly more difficult to come by as a dad. How is this lack of activity affecting you? In the early years, it can be particularly harmful as the lack of exercise often goes hand in hand with poor sleep patterns and reduced quality in your diet as convenience foods become the option of choice. This cocktail of doom can lead to increased weight gain, low energy levels, a depressed emotional state, and overall poor health outcomes if left unchecked. The longer it goes on the harder it is to break the cycle as we very readily accommodate to the ‘status quo’ and accept our fates.
Keeping fit Solutions
However, it doesn’t have to be this way and the benefits of prioritising exercise into your busy schedule are huge. For starters, you are going to be in a better position to be around for a longer time and be capable of playing with your children, and sharing experiences, as they get older.
You will also go a long way towards battling the potential ‘negative’ consequences of having children by sleeping better, having more energy and, probably, making better nutritional choices. We tend to eat better when we exercise, and vice versa.
Have regular family mealtimes with nutritious, single ingredient, minimally processed food that makes you all feel good. Whether you have a newborn or a teenager, one child or 7, have been sedentary a few months or a few years, here five some top tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life.
5 top tips to keeping fit as a dad
1. Be a Role Model
This is so important as, whether they admit it or not, our children take our lead with so much of their behaviour. The earlier we can entrench good habits, the more likely they are to stick with them as they get older. It doesn’t become a conscious choice for them, whether to exercise, it’s just ‘what they do’. The same applies to food, alcohol, mobile phone usage, in fact, children mimic most of our behaviours so be careful what you do or say around your kids!
2. Be time efficient
We all understand how important it is to be flexible and mobile, train your cardiovascular system, train with resistance to help improve strength (and, let’s face it, aesthetics) but how can you fit all that into a busy schedule?
All coached sessions at W10 incorporate these fitness qualities in every session, so there really is no excuse. You don’t have to spend hours and hours working each component individually when you can take a ‘minimum effective dose’ approach to your fitness and still yield fantastic results! Come along and test it for yourself with our 30-day trial.
3. Be active every day
It’s a bit of a cliché but staying active daily really does pay long term dividends in terms of your overall health and fitness as well as how you look and feel. Thirty minutes walking per day would constitute only 2% of the time in your day.
If you were to come to W10 three times per week, this would add up to only 1.8% of the week. Let’s be generous and add on an hour of travel to the 3 workouts – that’s still under 4% of the week. The point is, that’s a tiny amount of time to give up to exercise and still achieve amazing results, and there are plenty of opportunities if we think about things in the right way. For example for a short journey walk instead of taking the car. If using public transport get off a stop early and walk the rest it soon adds up.
4. Define your priorities
If you make it a priority, you will make it happen. If it’s not a priority it’s very easy to fritter time away stopping for that coffee, catching up on social media multiple times a day (check your app usage on your phone and see how much time you spend looking at social media/the internet etc. every day – you’ll be surprised!) and watching television. Cutting one of these out 3 days in a week is a pretty small ask when you consider the payoff from exercising on a regular basis.
5. Incorporate fitness into your family life
From taking a baby for a walk, riding your bikes in the park, taking the dog for a walk, to not allowing your growing offspring to beat you on the tennis court. There are many ways to incorporate fitness into the family schedule.
Be creative, get your family involved in what activities they might like to try together. This shared time is invaluable and gives you plenty of opportunities to talk and bond with your children – something we could all do more of.
So, there we have it, the W10 guide to being a Dad and successfully keeping fit. The key take home is that while you may feel there is no time, by re-evaluating and having some motivation to get started, there is always a way.
You’ll thank yourself in the long run as your energy, health, and fitness improve. Your partner/children will thank you when you whip your shirt off on the beach and have more energy for activities.