New Dad: Why it's important to keep active

Finding time to exercise when there's a new baby in the house can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help.

Exercise has more benefits than fitness 

When you’re caring for a new bub, the last thing on your mind is probably exercise. You're helping to juggle dirty nappies, feeds, an enormous amount of washing, and you probably spend any spare second catching up on sleep. 
Men who are involved in meaningful ways with their children say this relationship is one of their most important sources of wellbeing and happiness. 
"When my sons were born, by taking them out for a walk during the day, I felt that I was giving support to my wife and spending some lovely time with my children," says Conleth Prosser, father to two boys, 7 and 2.
"I would cycle to my children's swimming lessons to give my legs a workout," says Andrew Blight. "This gave me a workout, then I got to bond with them during the class. It was non-gender based too, which I loved, since so many playgroups are female-based."
person pushing pram body

Every little bit counts 

Combining fitness and fathering can be tricky, but it can be done. And it's worth it. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Even a 15-minute walk around the block can help your fitness levels. You can even take baby with you in the stroller. The rhythmic motion of the pram can help calm them down if they're upset. 
  • Arrange to meet up with friends or some other new dads to watch the cricket and walk to the venue together.  
  • Swimming lessons are a fun way to bond with your baby (from 4 months of age) and to meet other new parents.
  • Check out your local gyms to see if they have a crèche to look after your tiny tot while you work out.
  • Hire or buy an exercise bike or treadmill and whenever you get a few minutes do a quick work out. Alex Cooper, father to two, would create a play area for his children while he worked out alongside them on his stationary exercise bike.

More reasons to exercise

Making some time for exercise each day is important for your health and can also have positive flow on effects for your child’s weight, activity levels and health more broadly. 

Research on participants in the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids program in the New South Wales Hunter Valley region, indicated that the health habits of dads can influence the health of their kids. So it’s important for dads to become healthy role models for their children.  

An analysis of the data from Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children also found that four-year-olds whose fathers were overweight or obese (but whose mothers were in the normal weight range) were up to 15 times more likely to be overweight or obese four years later.

However you decide to exercise and spend time with your new bub, making time to stay fit is really important.  

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