Healthy Parent. Happy Parent.
You know the narrative. Prior to parenthood, opportunities to pop to the gym, go for a run or play football on weekends were numerous, but once a little dependent cub or two arrive on the scene, those opportunities begin to dwindle until they’re borderline extinct. And it can be tough! Not only is exercise a vital part of staying physically fit and healthy, but it has mental benefits too. During exercise the body releases chemicals that are proven to have a positive effect on your mood and make you feel more relaxed. Take this daily routine away and your self-esteem can be negatively affected.1
But you know what? Don’t worry too much. Why? It’s all just a phase, and although you may need be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, things will get easier. As your little bundle of joy begins to grow, you’ll find life more and more manageable and before you know it, you’ll be able to build a routine that’s more friendly towards daily exercise.
But that being said, being fit and healthy is still very much an important part of life and we’re not for one moment suggesting that you shouldn’t try and stay as fit and healthy as possible, even during the early days of parenthood. Below are a few tips to help you do so, even though your lifestyle has been gate-crashed by a little human…
1. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition
Now that you have children, it might take a little more brain power and time management skills, but it’s still just as important as ever, to focus on your diet and keep it as healthy as you can. Try to limit high fat, high sugar meals as much as possible. Make sure you eat your five-a-day.
We’re not saying that you should now live solely on a diet of raw veg, lentils and kombucha, just that moderation and balance are key.
2. Your home is your gym
As mentioned, opportunities for hour and a half trip to the gym are going to become trickier to get away with for a while, but you know that saying "The world is your gym"? Well, it’s kind of true. You don’t need expensive weight equipment to work those guns of yours. When your baby is asleep, find a space at home and get cracking on your workout routine of sit-ups, press-ups, squat thrusts etc. You can even buy yourself a dumbbell set for home if you really feel the need?
3. High intensity workout
Following on from point two, now it’s all about making every second count and this is where High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) comes in. Find yourself a free fifteen minutes and then blitz it. Get that heart pumping and build up a sweat.
4. Take turns with your partner
Why not have a rota with your partner where you take turns to get outside and exercise in the great outdoors? Not only with the fresh air do you good, but it’ll also free up some time for partners to do their thing too. Sharing the load with parenthood is key.
5. Buggy running
Alternatively, pop the baby in the buggy and go out for a run together! Seeing dads running with a buggy is becoming an ever more common sight.
Father of 2
Living in Budapest with his wife and two children, Gareth is a freelance writer, creative strategist, film maker and author of the ‘The Budanest’, a book about his experience of fatherhood. He gives us insight into parenthood from a partner's perspective: all views and opinions given are his own, taken from his personal experiences.