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The Fit Father

In case you haven’t already heard the term ‘dad bod’ yet I will explain it to you; the dad bod refers to a body that is mildly athletic at best, and cushy around the torso. I have already written about this, and if you’ve read that you know what my opinion is. Let me sum it up for you though: the acceptance or even reverence of the dad body is just wrong. This opinion doesn’t arise from an aspect of vanity. It doesn’t matter to me how a body looks, per se. What does cause me discourse is living in a society that would actually strive to live unhealthy, sedentary lives. The dad body has been praised for its evidence of enjoying beer and fried food; being unattractive, so as to not expect much from a partner; and enjoying the couch more than physical activity. Do fathers really want to be associated with such an image? Is this really the role model we want to be for our children? It certainly doesn’t have to be.

There are so many options for getting physical activity into your daily regimen that don’t include going to a gym or lifting any dumbbells. Just in case you might think I’m misleading you, here are a few examples:

Go for a walk - Yes, it is that simple. Now I’m not talking about going outside and wandering about like a classic ‘80’s zombie. Get out there and get your heart rate up a bit. Choose a route that includes hills and stairs (preferably going up!). If you use public transportation to get to work, try getting off a couple of stops early and walking the extra distance.

Ride a bike/skateboard/scooter – Dust off your old recreational equipment and go for a ride! If biking is your thing, be sure to use an appropriate gear to make it a challenge and to pedal often. Skateboarding and scooting can be amazing workouts, but be mindful of the fact that generally most people only push with one leg (due to coordination), making for a lopsided workout.

Workout at home – There are thousands of home workouts which require no equipment and hundreds of apps available for free or low cost that can show you exercises and even log workouts. The main thing is dedication and consistency. No workout will work unless you do it consistently. If you desire equipment, garage sales and kijiji are wonderful sources.

Bring back play – Seeing as we are talking about the dad bod’ it is appropriate to assume that many of you have children. Well, play with them. Go to a field and play freeze tag; kick a soccer ball around; pass a baseball or football around; go swimming; go hiking. The list is virtually endless.

None of this is exclusive to fathers or even men, however. Everyone can benefit from daily physical activity, and enjoying it with your family is an amazing way to get it. We all get caught up in our everyday lives, but it is incredibly important not just for physical health but also mental health to get regular physical activity. Finding the time to be active is probably easier than you think. If you can afford just thirty minutes each day it can make all the difference to your body, even if you break that up into two separate activities.

With all of this talk about being fit and healthy, we obviously have to be mindful of what we eat. After all, the better the fuel: the better the machine. And eating healthy can be just that simple. You don’t have to count calories or cut out the things you enjoy, you just need to think a little more about what you’re putting in with respect to what you’re putting out. For example, if you’ve had an exceedingly active day you can probably afford an ice cream cone. However if you’ve been unable to do much of anything physical, perhaps you can hold off on the donut until tomorrow. Part of it is realising that you’ve had a donut before. You’ll probably have one again. But is now the best time?

In my opinion, counting calories is no way to live life. Making an effort to eat proper portion sizes of well rounded meals sounds a little more realistic to me. There are many ways to incorporate mindful eating into your everyday life, and I can speak from experience that it is far easier to put a little thought into what you eat and what you do with regards to physical activity each day than it is to log meals and calculate calories. So while you’re out getting active, I will be compiling a list of ways that you can maintain healthy eating habits in order to properly fuel your athletic body.

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