Being Dad Health

The best ways to stay fit and keep in shape

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Redefine the term “dad bod” by trying out these different ways to stay in shape.

Here at FQ we understand that it can be hard to find time to regularly go to the gym or stick to a fitness routine, which might have helped give rise to the “dad bod”. However, what many dads don’t realise is that parenthood itself is an athletic endeavour. It’s much easier to be a great parent when you’re physically fit. So try out the following ideas to help you keep in shape.
Join a martial arts class

Martial arts is not just about self-defence. The consistent practice of a particular martial art leads to physical, mental and emotional benefits. Striking arts like Muay Thai or traditional karate emphasises discipline and focus while developing strength, agility, and endurance. Grappling arts like wrestling, judo, and jiu-jitsu teaches you to how to focus, strategise and use your entire body for leverage.

If you’re a busy dad, any of these martial arts can be fun and challenging enough to keep you coming back to classes. You can even have your kids take the same martial arts lessons as you. This is a hands-on way of teaching them about hard work, focus and discipline. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness explains that six years old is a good age to start martial arts classes. At six, kids are already developed enough to learn punches, kicks and grappling moves safely.

Cook and eat healthy

It’s not that hard to do. More importantly, if you know how to cook and eat healthy for yourself, you can ensure that your children are eating healthy as well. It’s all about learning to plan, prepare and stick to simple but delicious recipes that won’t take too much time.

One of Single Dad’s most practical pieces of advice for cooking healthy meals is to use a slow cooker. Find a recipe for soup or stew, throw all the ingredients into the cooker, set it on a low heat, go to work and come home to a warm and healthy home-cooked meal. This is also the perfect way to meal prep at the weekend for the week ahead.

Set a long-term fitness goal

Establish a realistic long-term training goal that you can slowly but steadily approach. For instance, it’s always good motivation to train for an actual marathon or half-marathon in a beautiful location. Combine travel and running by targeting a running event in a gorgeous part of the world you’ve never been to. You can also research local NGO-sponsored marathons or running teams that rally behind specific charities.

Save the Children have their own team in the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of children living in some of the world’s toughest places. This type of event is perfect for families as it isn’t too long, and can turn your fitness goal into a viable teaching moment about charity. The run is also the perfect way to bond and create new memories.

Sticking to any or all of these options can put you on the right track not just towards fitness, but also towards being the best parent that you can be.