Guest Post by: Damon Dietz
There was a time in my life that I would eat an entire pizza. Yep, eight full slices. That was in addition to a 2-liter bottle of diet coke. I thought that I was saving calories by opting for the diet version of the soda. SMH. My poor eating habits were the main reason I was fat, out of shape, and weighed 330 pounds.
Things all changed for me once I had my first child. I decided that I needed to make a lifestyle shift, because if I kept on living the way that I was living I was going to drive myself to an early grave. I wanted to be alive and well for my family. Having kids changed my life in more ways than you can imagine.
Well, a lot has changed since then. I have three amazing kids now. I have recently divorced, so I am raising my kids as a single dad. And I have lost over 130 pounds in total. Even though things changed, one thing remains constant… the importance of being an outstanding father to my kids.
Here are my top three tips for being an active single dad and teaching my kids the importance of the physical activity.
Lead By Example
Each morning when I wake up, I head to the designated workout area in my home and I perform my 10-minute stretching routine. Then I proceed to do a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise (usually strength training or the rowing machine). The great thing about this routine is that my kids expect it. So, either one of two things happens.
First, sometimes they join in. This is the best-case scenario, and while it doesn’t happen all the time, it happens regularly enough. My daughters love to join in on my stretching session and we often share some laughs at my lack of flexibility. My son thinks he is a master of doing pushups, so we all have lots of fun when they decide that they want to be a part of the exercise session in the morning. Alternatively, they leave me alone, The kids know that my exercise time is important to me, and it doesn’t last very long. So, for 30 minutes each morning, if they choose not to join in, they tend to themselves.
Make Physical Activity Fun
Hiking is an important part of my life. I enjoy the outdoors and the reprieve that hiking gives me from the stresses of life. So, I bring my kids hiking with me whenever possible. Hiking is a great way to stay active, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like exercise. I keep the family hikes shorter, and of course, I plan accordingly (bring kid-friendly snacks, plan frequent stops, and play some games along the way).
What if you don’t like hiking? Well, you can plan any number of fun physical activities to do with your kids. All sports are great outlets for kids to expend energy and get the activity that they need. Soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, frisbee, gymnastics, and so much more!!
Play, Play, Play
If you find the idea of planning or organizing a sporting activity to play with your kids daunting, then, don’t plan, just play! Playgrounds, riding bikes or scooters, swingset, tag, & hide and seek are just a few of the activities that can give the kids the physical activity that they need and you can have fun while doing it.
These are just a few of the ways that I have found to implement into my daily life as a single dad to be active and teach my kids the importance of physical activity. I don’t ever want to push physical activity or exercise on the kids because then they will learn to resent it. Instead, I focus on leading by example and including them in activities that may be fun for the whole family. The more you incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily routine, the more your kids will learn that exercise is the norm, rather than the exception that is only done once in a while. Now stop reading, and go outside and play with your kids!
About the Author
Damon Dietz is a writer, parenting coach, and professional speaker, who shares his knowledge of finance, health, parenting, and life from the perspective of a single dad over 40. He is a father to three amazing kids and thinks dads are kick-ass, even when the rest of the world sometimes thinks we’re idiots. You can get his best selling resource guide, for FREE, today only: 5 Free Activities To Help Dads Instantly Connect With Their Kids.