A study by the University of Pittsburgh confirmed what we’ve all suspected: new parents are more sedentary than single parents or married couples without children. The research tracked 800 young adults for more than two years and saw a decline in physical activity among new parents. For fathers who love fitness this is a worrying statistic.
The good news is that exercising and raising children need not be two mutually exclusive activities. What I’ve learned from being a father is that the two can actually go hand-in-hand. Integrating quality time with exercise is a great way to have long-lasting bonding moments with your children. Through this article I’ll be sharing with you my tips on how I balanced exercise with spending quality time with my kids.
Cycle with your child
I personally love cycling, so sharing these moments with my children is great. Cycling is an easy and fun way to exercise with children and can be as long or as short as you want it to be. The best part is that there are many accessories out there to help them depending on your tot’s age and capabilities. If they are too young to cycle on their own bicycle, seats can be mounted on the front or back of your bike. You can also consider bicycle-towed children trailers, which is the safest way to cycle with your toddlers no matter the weather. Models like the Burly Club Trailer are designed to withstand almost all weather conditions and can hold up to two children. Alongside getting your children outside, a child trailer will also make the cycle much more physically taxing. Great for fathers like me who like to push themselves. If you’re easing your child into cycling on their own, there are trailer bike attachments that connect an adult bike to a kid’s bike so they can get used to pedalling while you do all the heavy work.
Teach them a sport
For children aged three and up, sharing a sport you love is another great way to stay fit while spending quality time with your kids. The age they can join you on the field or the courts will depend on the sport of course, but even watching you play is a novel experience for young children. They will pick up on what you are doing and may even replicate it come their turn. It is also a great way for the family to connect and exercise together, especially if you find a sport you all love.
Lift during their nap time
People tend to think they need to put in hours at the gym to stay fit. The truth is it really doesn’t take a lot of time to achieve a basic level of fitness. Quality is more important than quantity, and a 15 to 25-minute workout can reap many benefits if you exercise smartly. For a father this means finding the best time to fit in a workout. After tucking in your child for a nap, or before they wake up in the morning, try doing one of Adrian Moore’s suggested workout routines. You can also try working out after putting your kids to bed at night if that suits you, but be mindful since this can affect your sleeping pattern.
Pushchair running or walking
Very Well Family explains how pushchair running, or even brisk walking, is a good way to spend interactive time outdoors with your young children while exercising at the same time. As long as your children are secure you can move at a fast pace. For new fathers like me, having two children only intensifies the workout since you are pushing two as opposed to one. Just make sure you get a pushchair that is easy to run with. The double pushchairs featured on iCandy, show how tandem designs are the same width as single models. This makes navigating busy streets much easier as you won’t be worried about bumping into people. A traditional side-by-side double pushchair will also make pushchair running much more cumbersome and may even cause discomfort for your children. Keep in mind that if you’re not into running you can always go on a brisk walk in between errands like picking up your children from daycare or when going shopping. You will be surprised how effective this is. Again, exercise can be sneaked in throughout the day, and integrating it into your everyday life is the secret to balancing quality time and exercise with your children.