Fatherhood and Fitness in Manhattan

by glenn on March 4, 2012

As parents, and for the purposes of this article, fathers, we spend a lot of our time doing things for others.  Whether it be pickups, drop offs, playdates, music classes, sports classes, diaper changes, shopping, cooking or something else on the never-ending list, there are few things that we do each day for ourselves.  But is that right?  What if there was something we could do for ourselves that would actually make us better at all of that’  That something is exercise.


No else can exercise for you.  No one else can lift a weight.  No one else can get on the treadmill.  No one else can attend a group fitness class for you.  Exercise is something that only you can do for you.  You can’t ask someone to do you a favor and workout for you.  You can’t delegate exercise to someone else.  The benefits of exercise have been well documented.  Most studies I have read, relate to on the job performance, but it isn’t hard to transfer that over to how we parent.  And for those of us for whom daddy duty is a full time job, our daily performance is all the more important.  People who exercise are more productive each day.  They accomplish more in a more efficient manner. They are more alert and able to make better, clearer decisions, multi tasking.  Show me a dad who doesn’t try to multi-task to get everything done.


Then when the work is “done”, you will have more energy for the fun stuff, like rolling on the floor and playing games with your kids.  Most importantly, you get sick less. Making it easier to do all of the above more often.  This means extra days with your kids and being able to give them 100% at every moment.  Less sick days, less doctor visits.  This all rounds out to say that by exercising, you will be setting a healthy example for your kids.  Our kids see my wife and I coming back from the gym several days a week.  Does that mean that they are asking to join the gym?  No.  But what they do ask about is why we do it, eating healthy, and they look forward to getting outside and getting their own exercise.  They see it makes us feel better.  As we all know they will have plenty of time to sit when they are older.  For now they can enjoy all the playgrounds, fields, and gymnastics studios that New York City provides.


The biggest excuse I hear about not exercising is, I don’t have time.  My advice is think small at first.  You can get a great workout done in 20 minutes.   For some reason, people have this idea that if you don’t have one-hour everyday to workout, then why bother.  Yes, fitness classes and personal training Manhattan sessions can last up to an hour, but that doesn’t mean that every workout has to last one hour.  Aim for 20 minutes a few days a week.  Exercise is contagious.  Some days you may find the motivation to stay an extra 20-30 minutes and other days you achieve your 20 minutes.  More importantly, if you can go on a consistent basis, you will see change.  If you need help figuring out what to do for 20 minutes, there are people who can create a program for you.


I believe that exercise makes me a better father.  That may not be true for everyone, but it is for me.  Some days I can get in 45 minutes, and on others only 15-20, but I am in a better frame of mind having done some exercise instead of nothing.  It is the one thing I enjoy doing for myself each day that has so many benefits for my family.  Enjoy your workout!


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