More than half of men say that becoming a dad was their major inspiration to get fit. Of those questioned by Bupa Health Clinics in a survey to mark Men’s Health Week, 56% said fatherhood was the spur for them to take their health and lifestyle more seriously. And it’s not only health that became a concern as fatherhood loomed, dads also reported that they finally sorted a host of life admin tasks around the time of their first baby.
Other life milestones such as reaching a new decade, buying a first property and getting married were also cited as reasons to do more exercise, check out niggling health problems and to have their health assessed, but none came anywhere near becoming a dad according to the research.
New Dads Seek Health Advice
Nearly a third of the dads surveyed said they had sought medical advice in the first three months of their baby’s life, with 69% going to the doctor within the first year. A mighty 57% finally made their way to a health professional to check out a niggling illness or injury once they had children, and 35% booked in a health assessment to make sure they were on the right track with their lifestyle now they had become a dad.
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There are a number of potential reasons for this newfound interest in the health of dads. The added responsibility of looking after a small child is a large factor. Knowing that a tiny, helpless human is relying on its parents for absolutely everything is a real reminder of your own mortality and the fragility of life. Many new parents can feel almost overwhelmed by love and concern for their baby, so ensuring that you are in the best possible state to be around for as long as you can makes a lot of sense.
It can also be that the disruption to sleeping patterns and the resulting feeling of being run down can focus your mind more on the aches and pains it was previously easy to ignore. Not to mention that fact that an exhausted brain is more likely to dwell on negative thoughts, building minor issues into major problems during the long night-feeding and baby-soothing hours of twilight. With this in mind, it makes sense that new dads make more use of their local medical facilities.
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Other Life Admin for New Dads
The study of 100 men with children aged five and under found that being a new dad inspired them to complete a whole set of life admin tasks. They included booking dentist appointments opening a savings account, setting up a pension and writing a will. New dads also reported that they made sure they had changed the batteries on their smoke alarms, booked their cars in for MOTs and services and either checked or installed home security alarm systems.
Were You Inspired to Get Fit?
Gary Barlow once said in an interview that the reason behind his weight loss was that he didn’t want to be a “fat dad”. He wanted to be able to keep up with his children as they grew. That is a powerful motivational tool. It’s easy to neglect your own health and well-being when there’s just you to consider, but children do change that.
Were you inspired to get more active and take a keen interest in your health once you had children? Let us know in the Comments.