How Does Having a Dad Bod Affect My Kids?

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Becoming a Father changes you forever. 

With the newborn comes new responsibilities including round the clock care - often for your partner as well as the baby. 

It is only too common for new Fathers to fall into a lifestyle that can, potentially, create great anxiety and stress.

When you become a father, your priorities change. Where, before the birth, you might have had a schedule beautifully fine-tuned around work, rest and play, this will all fall away like a dimly remembered dream.

Your schedule will be hard-hit, lack of sleep will be common, and as your focus shifts to your new parenting role, it may seem impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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Motivation is the key to maintaining fitness. Increasing your weight requires more effort than losing it.

Your Beer Belly, Their Future

Research shows that when Dad gains a beer belly, it is unhealthy for himself and his future children.

A beer belly is a sign of visceral fat around internal organs. This is more than about looking good.

In men a waist circumference of over 40 inches increases the likelihood of getting heart disease. 

It also affects your sperm.

How Being Overweight Affects your Sperm

Last year researchers from Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University conducted a study to understand the impact of a body weight on sperm genetic information. Based on studies using mice they found that mice who were placed on a high fat diet but were allowed to exercise produced offspring who could control their weight well. If the father did not exercise, it impacted the metabolic health of future offspring. 

In other words, weight loss or weight gain changes the DNA of sperm.

Other studies have also shown that overweight parents can also have overweight children. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2011, they analysed 3,000 families. When the mother was of normal weight but the father was overweight; it multiplied the risk of the children being overweight by a factor of four.

How Exercise benefits your kids - and You

All the things that kids get from fitness when young actually affects their adult lives too. This includes; cardio-respiratory fitness, muscle strength, bone strength - all the things that physical activity and exercise brings. Cardio fitness relates to how the heart and lungs function. What matters is how efficiently they provide oxygen to the muscles. Muscular fitness, on the other hand, relates to muscular power and flexibility. 

Astonishingly, research shows that heart disease starts in childhood, which makes providing healthy exercise and nutrition a vital part of being a parent.  

So how much activity is enough? Children between two years old and five years old should be having at least three hours of physical activity per day. From five years old this need lessens to at least an hour of high intensity a day - that is exercise that is vigorous enough to make them "out of breath". 

This will also have a positive effect on their mental health. Both the biochemical effect of exercise on the young human brain and the social side of being active outside with other children can do much to prevent depression and anxiety. 

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Normalising Bad Health

Dads play more actively and physically with their children than do Mums. This play has a number of massive benefits for the children, not least of which is enabling them to keep slim or adjust their weight if they have put on a few pounds.

In addition, children are highly tuned learning machines. They pick up their fathers’ diet and exercise habits like sponges. And they don't do what you say; they do what you do.

Let's face it; men with beer bellies may love watching sports but doing sports...not so much. Probably not quite so much outdoor fun with the kids either. The problem is those wobbly bits, and all the unhealthy habits it takes to develop those wobbly bits, normalise poor health in the children's eyes, shaping their own eating habits.

All dads are super dads. At least, to their kids. But there is a downside to being a hero. It means there is a direct line from our pie-in-face-stuffing  tendancies to obesity in our kids. When children are obese, they are at risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes.

Escaping The Dad bod

If you are a New Father it's time to bin the takeaway menu and forget buying junk food on your way home. You wont have enough money for that, anyway. So here are a few tips to lighten your bod without lightening your wallet.

 

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Don't Shop When Hungry

Bad idea. Preplan, even a bit. You might think that's not a man thing  to do but put it this way, a disciplined MARINE doesn't load up on biscuits just because he went shopping when hungry. Nor should we. At least throw things in the basket that are roughly in the right direction and sort the details later....eggs or oats for brekkie, wraps, salad and slices of meat or fish for lunch. Butter. I do mean butter. Loadsa veg for evening meal and tasty protein...we are big into turkey slices sooo tasty and easy to throw in a pan. With butter. Bish bash bosh, done. Or whatabout a stir-fry? 

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Get Your Meals Ready Ahead of Time and Cut the Sugar

Ok, this may be asking a bit much but try it; so a spag bol, double up on ingredients and put half of it in the freezer. Then when you come in famished from work and your other half is slumped comatose over a sleeping baby that's the time to whip out the unused spag bol, defrost it in the microwave and chalk up all that kudos. 

It's more effort than a plate of cereal but c'mon, really cereal for dinner (yeah, done it). Next time you try any cereal other than porridge, take a look at the sugar content. It's likely to be high.

Cut the sugar. Cut it from your diet, and cut it from your kids' diet. That ESPECIALLY includes the hidden sugars in rubbish like fizzy drinks, cereals, factory made "ready meals" or fast food. Fast is right; speeding you and your kids to an early grave. Full of sugar, full of additives. Cut it down, one meal at a time. If you are right at the edge of your budget, check out "A Girl Called Jack" by Jack Monroe. It's a masterpiece of tasty on a budget.

 

 

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Breakfast Water 

We need water to break down fat. Not coffee or tea - you can have those AS WELL AS but not INSTEAD OF water in the morning. Why in the morning? Because you won't have drunk any water for AT LEAST 8 hours - probably MUCH MUCH MORE. You wont feel thirsty but that's not the point; if you have trained your brain to not have water in the morning it won't recognise that at a cellular level your body is crying out for the stuff. So get up, put the kettle on and before you start your coffee drink a glass of water. It'll help you burn fat and increase your energy levels. 

  

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Go for Weightlifting.

If you have never been weightlifting don't worry, you are not alone. It is no longer just associated with Arnie wannabees.

More and more non-Arnie types are beginning to understand that weightlifting is the best way to improve body structure: increase muscle mass and reduce fat. It helps prevent obesity, muscle atrophy caused by aging, cancer, heart disease and others.

And it isn't just your body which will benefit.

The brain and the body form an organic system. Your physical condition can affect how you think and feel. Strength training will change your thinking, your feelings and your physiology. 

Especially for men, weightlifting will have a huge positive impact on self-confidence and happiness.Weight training as a fitness training program is addictive. It’s a healthy way to spend time and help not only your body but also your mind. 

You can try to stick to the following routines and you will soon be in good shape.

 Use Compound Exercises

These are the actions of moving multiple muscles at the same time. Unlike isolated movements with only one muscle movement at a time, this allows you to get the most out of your exercises. Complex exercises often create a new muscle mass. Consider compound exercises, you can try these fit father exercises listed below. 

- Dumbbell Flys This sport is perfect for the movements of the chest, but it also makes your shoulders more comfortable. Three groups of 8 to 10 representatives are the ideal choice.

Try Lat Pull-down If you can do a lot of push-ups, I recommend them. However, most people can do only a few. Pull down until you are ready to pull out the full game. Aim for three groups of 8-10 reps.

 

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Guest Monday, 16 December 2019

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