As we go through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, our finances often tend to supersede our personal health and well being. This inevitably equates to standing on the scale one day dumbfounded by how you have gained 20, 30 or more pounds over the last couple of years.
It can be a painful moment realizing your epic abs have somehow evolved into your existing “dad bod.” A moment often experienced in private.
Improving our health is a great part of being a father and self improvement. Fortunately there are a few exercise techniques you can use on a daily basis that will help you burn energy or calories if you are a person who counts calories, without having to pay for a gym membership.
These exercises can be categorized by movement or environment whichever may be most fitting to you. For some people, just the thought of a new workout routine or activity can turn itself into a huge psychological barrier that ends up getting put off until the next day, or week or month and so on.
Therefore, it may be more helpful to look at the following not so much as a “workout” so to speak, but moreover as a new series of movements worth trying in the process of everyday life. With the goal being to make a workout out of everything you do over time.
On The Job Healthy Movements
Understandably, performing the “downward dog” while reaching under your desk or to restock paper may not be the most acceptable activity for the workplace. But there are other stretches; tension or repetitive motions you can do throughout the work day that really help improve your health.
- Get On Your Horse In martial arts, there is a stance called the “High Horse.” What this consists of is standing straight with your feet positioned in a slightly wider stance than normal just outside the shoulders width, and bending your knees slightly. If you work at a desk, or counter you can stand in this position and burn energy. Martial artists sometimes hold this position for hours. It strengthens your core, legs and leaves your upper body free to move as needed.
- Sit With Stability Use a stability ball at your desk instead of a chair. Stability balls work a variety of lower body muscles, and force your body to posture itself appropriately. Some companies actually provide stability balls for their workers to use while working on their computers
- Brisk To The Burn If you have short distances to travel throughout the day, a good technique is to walk briskly between each location tracking your steps with a tracking app. For example, a friend of mine works at one of the big box stores with a huge floor. She frequently has the opportunity to walk briskly back and forth from one end of the store to another while performing her daily duties. Walking briskly until you feel a slight burn in your calves or shins can be beneficial towards your health and motion creates emotion.
For the most part we all have to do some sort of household chores on a daily basis. We can dread them a great deal or look at them as healthy little workouts with a little creative thinking.
- Canoe Sweep Even if you are not from Hawaii or ambidextrous this method of sweeping will help you increase your hand eye coordination. Rather than sweeping around the house or driveway with your normal technique, try turning your body a little sideways as if you were paddling a canoe. Alternating sides between ten or twenty sweep repetitions as if you were paddling a canoe and you will notice the benefits almost instantly. Before you know it your area will be swept, and you will have more positive perspective of house cleaning while burning calories.
- Wax On Wax Off Again, the benefits of using both hands when wiping are true as displayed in the famous movie referenced. Whether wiping the walls, tables or the floor try alternating hands and using similar motions.
- Baby Weights If you have children like I do, they may enjoy this one more than you will at first. Have your little one lay on your back and do bent knee push-ups. Start slow gradually increasing repetitions until you are able to do more safely. Or have your child hold on to your calves and lift your legs holding them suspended from a chair or couch. You can turn this into a fun little play time for the two or three or four of you and you can enjoy the physical benefits of it as well.
Healing Breaths During Daily Commutes
If you are familiar with Yoga, then you may have heard of term “Healing Breath.” This is easy to do during your commute to or from work. Time your breaths in 3 to 5 second intervals, balancing your length of inhale with your length of exhale.
I would advise that you start while at home or in small increments if you have not done it before, less you find yourself dizzy and or light headed.
Eventually you will be able to work your way up to ten or twenty second inhales and exhales. These deep healing breaths oxygenate your blood and have a wealth of health and self improvement benefits.
The human body has numerous self healing mechanisms in place, all of which are fueled by oxygen. It is not that often that we take a moment to open up and expand our lungs, taking a deep breath is a great place to start.
Finding the Balance for Personal Improvement
Whatever method you choose to improve yourself with, there is a unique balance between mind and body. When the body feels good, the mind tends to follow and vice verse. I like the phrase “Motion creates emotion,” because it manifests one of the most important elements of personal well being… taking action.
A small seemingly and insignificant thing like trying a new sweeping technique or taking deep breaths can have an enormous affect upon your person growth and well being.
As a father, I notice that my children take interested and try to mimic workout oriented activities I do. They enjoy the style of sweeping, or copy my high horse stance when doing school work.
My youngest really enjoys doing push up and squats rides with me, and my older children still enjoy the ride even though I am not able to do as many repetitions. To ensure that everyone feels included, I do bent knee push ups with my older children and make sure that I am well stretched out and warmed up for squats with them.
It is fun, funny and a nice little bonding moment we have when I am working out with my children. They are eager to participate and often do as many push ups and squats as they can. Some days they seem to do more than me.
As the proverbial “a journey of a thousand miles begins with only one step,” make today your day to begin, let your action begin with one breath. Then tomorrow add one step and so on. Until eventually you will find yourself standing at the scale again with a smile of confidence, knowing that you have found the balance that works best for you regardless of what the scales may say.