Dad Down Under 365 – Exercise
I was at one of those outdoor exercise stations a couple of months back, the ones were you go when you let your gym membership lapses. I had just smashed 6 pull ups, yes 6, and was sitting down congratulating myself on a job well done when a huddle of young fit men charged on over. It was hard to tell whether they were a footy team or a stripper troupe, I think the correct term is buff or ripped or shredded.
No sooner had they arrived than they were peeling off their tops to reveal some rippling torsos. Given that Melbourne had served up its usual winter offering of grey, windy, cold stuff this seemed a bit extreme but maybe it was just wasted on me. They each took in turns on the pull up bar, needless to say they beat 6, I noticed that the preferred method of congratulating each other was to slap one another’s bums?
Whilst they waited their turn they spent the entire time stroking and flexing their muscles, swigging protein shakes, preening their hair and adjusting themselves and their Lycra. I looked at them and then did a quick scan of my own body. My 6 pack had gone on strike, my chest wasn’t standing to attention like there’s were, my guns were firing blanks and whilst you could crack walnuts in their buttocks mine would have struggled to crush a grape.
Spoken with the naivety of a ‘nearly a parent’ I declared to anyone and everyone “having a child won’t change a thing I will still be exercising most days”. I would now like to exercise my right to retract that statement. Being a stay at home parent gives you all the reasons you could ever possibly wish for not to exercise. Too tired, too stressed, too terrorised.
And so the pattern began; nothing more exerting than a bit of pram pushing, toddler wrangling (which has its moments) and the gruelling bicep work out that comes with lifting a latte from table to mouth. I would talk a good game about pulse raising weekend intentions but we all know that weekends are about recharging the batteries and letting the other half a turn.
But I missed it, I missed the post exercise endorphin fuelled glow, pushing myself a little further than I thought I could, I missed eating whatever I felt like but mostly I missed doing something just for me, I get to take off my vegemite stained Dad hat and look after myself. These days I find ways to fit exercise into my day. It’s not always structured and it’s usually rushed but I’ve grown to really love this way of exercising.
Exercise now is about taking the small opportunities when they present themselves, I will run with Max in the pram for as long as he lets me get away with, I make sure I carry the shopping home, I take the stairs, I get creative at the park and I have been known to perform a squat or two whilst washing up. The way I like to exercise you need no money, no equipment and a body which is ideal because I have all of those things in abundance!
Feeling invigorated after a month of sleep and with half an eye on summer, this month I’ll be exercising for a minimum of 30 mins of rigorous exercise 5 times a week. I want to show myself how much can be achieved in a short space of time. I want to see if it is something that is truly important to me, if it makes me happy or if that time could be spent more wisely doing something else. I want to try as many different forms of exercise to see which ones work for me. I’ve come up with a simple full body workout that I can do at home, at the park or at the beach and I’ll be doing that three times a week with the other two days being filled with different sports to keep things interesting.
Body Weight Programme (full body work out for toning and conditioning)
Pull ups on swing frame 3 x 6 and Burpees 3 x 20
Squats/Lunges 3 x 20 and Press Ups 3 x 20
Jumps onto bench 3 x 15 and Tricep dips off edge of slide 3 x 20
Bunny hops over slide 3 x 1min and Plank 3 x 2mins
At the end of the month I’ll share how it was for me, what worked what didn’t. If I’m feeling brave there will be a before and after shot (there’s always Photoshop). Do you manage to exercise as a parent? Does exercise make you happy? What do you do for exercise?