Sunday, 5 March 2017

Combining family and fitness in 3 steps

I've always considered myself to be active, into sport, and keep my self in an okay condition. However, if I'm honest the majority of that focus came before turning 18. Now I've hit 35 it's all gone a bit relaxed.

In recent years my focus and commitment to being active has been well and truly in the fair-weather camp. This has in part been down to becoming a parent and trying to balance; family, work and everything else. In short, I've created excuses not to go out for that run, and choose to sit on the sofa and not move once the kids are in bed. Or even, not eating correctly, be it missing breakfast, or helping my self to a few spoon fulls of Jam, or chunks of cheese just before going to bed.

But one of the main reasons which I promise is not an excuse is the guilt I feel if I take 30 mins every now and then in the week for myself. Whilst my wife is completely behind me, I feel as though I need to be around to help take the load and give her a rest. As the boys have gotten older, we have found our stride and this emotional guilt is starting to lift.

So, with that said, I plan to follow these three steps:
1) Make keeping fit, a way of life - the intention is to exercise regularly, and make it part of my daily routine, both on my own, and with the boys. After-all that's the other thing I want to do, is show them a good role-model and expose them to lots of activities whilst they're young. There are things that I'll have to consider with this one, as they'll bring a different pace to things, ability, and attention span. One way would be to involve them for part of the workout, or in preparation of meals, or join the local kids ParkRun on a Sunday.

2) Gyms are a no go - Outside of team sports, my exercise does not involve going anywhere near a gym. The gym is just not what I'm into for keeping fit. I know gyms provide excellent support and network, which in itself is motivational. But as I type, it's not for me, right now. So, whether it's running, using the outside fitness course in the local park, walking instead of jumping in the car, or using the weight of the kids to help with things like compound movements, there are plenty of things to do, no excuses.

3) Habit is the goal - according to a study carried out by Lally, it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit. So, staying motivated is going to be key, and with the above two steps the intention is to make this a habit that's a positive one, and not all consuming becoming that "obsessive dad". By making keeping fit a positive habit the hope is that this will help that the boys enjoy getting outside, whatever the weather.

I'd welcome any comments on how you're combing or planning to combine fitness into your family life, whatever the stage.  

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