As selfless parents, we take an active role in our children’s daily routines. Often, this can leave you feeling devoid of energy. Being a parent is a demanding job with hours of overtime and no holidays.
To be at our best, responding to the ever changing needs of our children, at different stages of their lives, physical exercise is essential.
I cannot endorse physical exercise enough for parents wanting to create meaningful change in their lives and the lives of their family. It is a catalyst.
In the past few years, my understanding of exercise has dramatically increased. I used to believe that regular routines were an easy way to build strength and stamina. While, this is correct in a general sense, there is a lot more available for us to explore.
Today, the primary reason for exercise is to generate positive energy, creative thinking and contentment that comes from physical and biological fitness.
When people ask me why I train with some intensity, they are often surprised by the answer. It is only a fringe benefit that the body develops into having the curves and toning that both weight loss and muscle gain brings. For me, the results are evident in the deeper relationship with the musical language it brings.
People who haven’t invested much thought into exercise may perceive it as a “fix” for being at an undesirable weight. While this is true, fitness doesn’t evolve in a straight line or one dimensionally. Slim guys need weight loss and fat guys need weight gain. Like the study of piano, there is a lot of counter-intuition.
When you understand diet, appropriate formulas, warming up/down, how specific exercises affect muscle groups, correct techniques, how many calories to burn and what heart rate burns fat versus muscle, you will be ready to get some pretty significant results.
Whether it be going to the gym and using the creche facilities, doing a cardio or weights program, swimming, riding a bike, surfing or kite surfing, playing footy, cricket, going for a walk/run, there is something for every parent and the children. If you are fit, parenting is more fun.
For a long time, my weekly routine has consisted of bike riding, cardio and weights sessions incorporating constant variation on different muscle groups, cross training, running, rowing and aerobics. Water, especially salt water is also great, so weather permitting, hitting the beach for a swim or surf is a natural choice.
No two people are alike, so it is important to track your preparation, workout and recovery and try different techniques.
A few weeks ago, I did a triathlon and was startled at just how easily I finished although this can vary dramatically. Like the big bad wolf, there was some huffing and puffing, however I was able to recover easily and generally keep up the intensity. It was surprising!
Age and circumstance must to a degree, dictate what works for you. At a minimum, I would recommend two or three thirty minute workouts per week. I prefer a high level of fitness although with it, comes the responsibility of a good diet.
As parents, time management is more important than ever. Be realistic and set small goals first. If you’re too hard on yourself, it won’t develop. Self defeat is not an option.
Exercise can give you clarity of mind and that extra energy needed to be even more of a responsive, selfless and dedicated parent. We all want our children to lead happy, fulfilling lives and the first step is teaching them by example. The result of your exercise spills into your role as a parent in so many ways and this truly is the biggest positive about deciding to get fit. The kids benefit!
When my son and daughter need me, I am able to respond accordingly. I can add joy and creativity to my role as a parent, whether it be enjoying a beautiful “transient” moment, singing a song, reading and sharing a book, helping with homework, listening, preparing a meal or snack, setting and negotiating boundaries and packing bags for playgroup or school. They see me living in the moment and so they then do the same. Life has a natural uncomplicated rhythm when you are physically and mentally fit.
Parents and families take note. Exercising is the answer to an upgraded version of you. It’s great for the mind and wouldn’t you know, especially good for learning music too!