As a personal trainer, when meeting with new clients who have kids or grandkids, in their top 3 motivators for becoming fit (whether losing weight, gaining muscle mass, etc.) is to be able to play with their kids. It's obvious that running after kids can be an exhausting task. I remember playing "horsey" with my dad when I was young - my sister and I would hop on his back while he climbed 2 flights of stairs on all fours like a horse to take us to bed. Can you say joint stress and low back pain?! (Obviously that was not my first thought as a 4 year old...)
So a huge way to go (and thank you) to all the dads who play with their kids for endless hours in the sun, snow and rain without thinking about how sore their muscles will be the next day.
But imagine how much easier play time would be if you didn't hear a crack in your back and feel an ache in your knees every time you get up off the ground or bent over. These are the main factors I can think of as to why its important for family men to stay fit. And even if you don't experience it now, you obviously want to keep it that way.
In addition to making the transition from stud to silver fox, here are some things to remember as we surpass the ripe young age of 25:
- Our metabolism starts to slow up to 5% per decade.
- We lose 1 lb of muscle to 1 lb of fat per year if not maintained from strength training.
- We are more at risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.
- We begin to functional mobility due to the nature of sedentary lifestyles.
Hence its never been more important to ensure we take care of our bodies so we can take care of ourselves, and our kids. Strengthening our muscles means support for our tendons and thus greater support for our bones. Think "Bye bye achy knees". Strengthening our muscles and improving flexibility means correcting posture. Think "Hello duck, duck, goose!" Improving cardiovascular endurance means improving blood flow and oxygen to your heart, lungs and muscles. Think "Tag, you're it!"
So whether you're currently working out or are thinking of starting a new fitness regime, here are some guidelines to get you started:
1. Be sure to include a 10 minute warm up to get your body warm and your heart pumping. Your exertion should feel like a 7 out of 10.
2. Hit all the major muscle groups, starting with the biggest ones first.
3. If you're new to the gym, start with closed-loop machines first to make sure you keep your form in check. Once you feel comfortable, progress to cables, and then eventually to free weights.
4. Include a nice cool-down of 5 to 10 minutes to bring your heart rate down nice and slow.
5. Give yourself a minimum of 10 minutes of stretching to steadily release lactic acid from your muscles and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness the next day.
6. Don't try too much too fast. Apparently, Middle-Aged Men in Lycra, is a term given to men who progress fitness regimes too quickly and actually increase their risk of heart complications. (literally the opposite direction we're talking about here).
7. Always check with your physician before starting any new exercise program.
So its up to you to choose a fitness program thats right for you. But if you don't know where to start, BE.AM Fitness can help (shameless plug in - check out our services here). But since it's father's day, here's a free gift to get you started:
"Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent." -George Carlin
Happy Father's Day.