Finding Time to Stay in Shape After the Baby
Let’s face it, when you have a newborn in the house, killer abs aren’t exactly top priority. But staying fit is part of being healthy and every new dad wants to be as healthy as possible for his child. You want to be around for graduations, weddings, and, someday, the birth of your grandchildren.
With fitness in mind, I’ve begun to search for interesting ways to stay in shape in what little time I have as a work-from-home dad. There seem to be plenty of tips for new moms, but dads are often forgotten in the world of new fatherhood. With an increasing number of stay-at-home dads, Mr. Mom isn’t such a strange concept. In fact, according to Careerbuilder.com, 37 percent of working dads said they would stay at home with the kids if the family could afford it. The number of actual stay-at-home dads is still below 20%, according to the U.S. Census, but the number of work-from-home dads increases the number of dads at home with kids during the day to around 25%.
That’s a pretty high number and, if you factor work into the demands a stay-at-home father encounters during the day, anyone who has ever cared for a child knows time is limited. Caring for a child, especially a newborn, can be a full-time job in itself, even with mom at home, too. Things like staying fit and eating right can easily take a backseat to complex needs like…oh, I don’t know, sleeping and breathing. But days turn into weeks and weeks, into years and soon you realize those six-pack abs turn into twelve-pack beer bellies. It’s far easier to do a little basic maintenance now to avoid hours upon hours of hard work later.
While cramming in quick workouts in between diaper changes and feedings is certainly a possibility, as a new dad I’m finding naptime and work time also has to be slid into those time slots. Since bonding time with your baby is at a premium, the ideal would be to combine fitness with baby time.
Whether running or walking is your preferred aerobic activity, fitness can easily involve baby. Take your stroller for a run around the block. You’ll stay fit and the baby will love it. There are a wide variety of strollers ideal for jogging and running, some with wheels similar to those on bicycles. These strollers are perfect for navigating the surfaces of concrete, including any holes or bumps you might encounter along the way.
And don’t forget mom. Taking baby for a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner every evening is perfect for getting fresh air for all of you, as well as meeting your neighbors. You may find a few future play dates for your newborn along the way.
Pumping iron can easily be substituted with lifting baby. Although lifting 10-20 pounds isn’t exactly the height of bench-pressing, over time these repetitions can keep those muscles toned and, guaranteed, your baby will love being lifted. Practice lifting your baby and holding him or her for seconds or even a minute or two, always keeping the baby’s safety in mind, of course. You can also snuggle the baby on your chest for extra challenge during crunches. This will be fun for the baby, grueling for you…but just what your abs need.
New fatherhood doesn’t mean you have to give up on your precious workout time. Like everything else in life, you’ll have to prioritize around the new baby and your family’s needs. But by keeping in mind that “workout time” may not mean a dedicated half hour at the gym every day, you can still stay in shape and have fun doing it.
Paul is the proud new father of a beautiful baby girl and he has a website devoted to real baby product reviews by a REAL dad. You can see Paul’s latest review of the Graco SnugRide 35 on his blog at Car Seat Reviews.