Ok, dads. We are only a few weeks away from making our annual New Years resolutions (I know, it’s hard to believe we are at that point already) and it’s time to start thinking about how we would like to improve ourselves for our families and us. And this often means becoming a healthier version of you.
It’s not shocking that statistically, in 2014; increasing frequency of exercise, losing weight and improving diet were among the most popular resolutions made. Unfortunately, these are also the most commonly broken resolutions.
So how do we stick to our fitness goals? Getting fit and to a place where we can be confident in our body image takes time, dedication and support. And with work, kids, and other commitments filling our schedules, how can we incorporate a healthier, exercise-rich lifestyle in the madness of dadness?
The simplest way to reintroduce fitness and exercise into your life is to integrate it in the time you spend with your child. Volunteer as a coach, assistance coach or trainer for your son’s football team or your daughter’s gymnastics club (or vice versa). Running drills up and down the pitch or lifting a toddler to the uneven bars will have you burning calories and building your relationship.
Finding an activity that you and your child can both enjoy together outside of organized sports is also a simple way to integrate exercise into play. My son and I enjoy skateboarding/riding scooters together and it’s a great workout for both of us.
Just be sure to skip the trip to the ice cream shop afterwards. Grab some non-fat yogurt instead for a source of protein and be sure to drink a lot of water (but you’re already doing that, right?).
Another effective method to ensure you find time to incorporate exercise into your day is to sign up for a fitness club that offers a child care program. After the juice bar, kids clubs at gyms are one of the greatest additions to amenities offered. The opportunity to bring your child along with you to workout eliminates one of the easiest excuses you could make in your commitment to childcare.
Plus, this sets a good example for your child – it’s never too early to teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle. If exercise is a regular part of your routine, chances are it will be a part of theirs as well.
Exercising can be as easy as walking. Let’s not make this difficult. Following the birth of my son, my wife and I committed to a walking schedule and saw great results in reducing body fat and increasing overall fitness levels. Start out taking short walks frequently and periodically increase distance covered. Want to make it more difficult? Look for a walking route with lots of hills, go for a hike, or place your child in a carrier on your back and feel the burn!
Think you’re already fit? Try strapping on the carrier and some snowshoes for a winter workout.
If you fancy two wheels instead of two feet, you can achieve the same benefits in cycling. With a wide variety of infant carriers and toddler tow-arounds in the market it shouldn’t be difficult to outfit your commuter or mountain bike into a safe and stylish dadmobile.
When it comes time for your child to learn to ride solo, you can scrap the tow bar and hit the trails together. And if you have several kids, you can form your own family echelon…
Just because you are a father and have less time to allocate to pick up games, two-hour shifts in the weight room, or solo single track sessions doesn’t mean you have to give up. You just need to change the way you think about exercise and get creative. No more excuses come January 1st, ok?