Being a stay at home dad, you sit at home, taking care of the kids, especially an infant, you may find yourself becoming more stationary in your lifestyle. The baby just lays on her mat, playing, or sleeping while you watch TV, or lay on the floor playing her. While you may have bursts of activity to find something to wipe the mass of spit-up on your shoulder, change a leaky diaper, or prepare a bottle, generally you probably don’t have a lot of activity.
If you have older kids, you may be chasing them around the house a bit more, or going to playground. While this activity does burn off some calories, it doesn’t feel the same as a run, or a bike ride, or a workout. These are focused exercises. There is a goal (distance, time, reps, etc), and accomplishing that goal gives a sense of accomplishment. But, when is there time to do these activities? Well, if exercise is and becoming a healthy father is important to you, you will have to make time. (Did you enjoy the scenery on the guilt trip I just sent you on?)
The first thing you can do is wake up early. Boy does this suck, waking up a good hour before the rest of the house so you can run a few miles, get back and stretch before breakfast. This is what I do, I typically wake up at 5 am or earlier. I actually enjoy running in the cool of the morning. I also find that by the time I actually wake up and realize what I am doing, I already have my running clothes on, and am heading out the door. This is also a habit formed when I lived in the southeast. Out there, the only time it was below 80° in the summer was 5am, though it still felt like 100. If you are running at night, wear light colored clothing, maybe some lights – for safety. If you aren’t a runner, you can use this time to go to the gym, or use one of the workout machines that is gathering dust in the spare room. Get your running/workout clothes set out the night before so you aren’t fumbling in the dark looking for your shorts or something.
The next exercise opportunity is during the kids’ nap time. If you can get 30 minutes, you can do a workout video, do jumping jacks, pushups, sit-ups, etc. Also, if you have dumb bells, or weights, you can get in a quick workout with those. If you did a workout in the morning, you can take a nap while the kids take a nap and catch up on sleep. If you kids are like the Dashing Son and decided naps were boring around age 3, then have them do quiet time in their room while you do your thing.
You can try to get workouts/runs done in the evenings, but the gyms are usually more crowded, and depending on the season, it could be warmer, or downright miserably hot. This is also dependent on your spouse letting you out of the house while the kids are still awake. You may be able to put off the workout until the kids are in bed, but, for me, I am already exhausted from my day and would rather spend time with my wife while she is still awake.
Lastly, you can try some exercising with the kids. Remember those shake weight commercials? I can do you one better, try to sooth a 15 lb crying baby by bouncing her with one arm for 20 minutes. That will bring your bicep to near failure. You can push them in a stroller while you walk/run, though they don’t recommend infants in the jogging strollers. I know that Burley jogging strollers makes an infant insert, but they don’t recommend that until they are 6 months. You can tow them behind a bike, but they don’t recommend putting kids in bike trailers until they are 2, or when a helmet fits on their itty bitty heads. On the bright side, if you are pushing or towing your kids, the extra effort will pay off when you are unhindered and you will move that much faster.