Parent Fitness, 7 Principles of Healthy Living

You've got this dad!
I just read a book called '
Total Fitness After 40' by Nick Swettenham. It blew my mind.

It covers the seven principles of health. I was prime clickbait. A forty-year old dad, overcoming injury.

My injury occurred in May, after I cracked a rib. During the recovery, I pondered my mortality. Where can I improve? What can I do better?

Parent life is exhausting. Who doesn't what more energy? 

I realised there were was room for improvement. Health extends beyond nutrition and exercise. As you age, you must cover all aspects of body health. Sadly, too many don't!

Forty seems to be that age, where the excuses creep in. Parent life is busy, but find time to maintain yourself. Don't fall apart, sort it out!

This is serious business, so I won't be cracking many jokes or ribs!

Staying Healthy, As We Age

I believe the impacts of aging are overstated. For men, our testosterone depletes a little, but we can still gain strength and muscle. It may be harder, but it isn't impossible. 

Getting old is no excuse for bad habits, poor diet and inactivity. This is preventable and not age related.
Getting old is no excuse for bad habits, poor diet and inactivity.
Health extends beyond a good diet. Your body needs a multifaceted approach, to maintain physical health. Being healthy, means focusing on a range of areas.

This is where the seven principles come in, let me cover those.

1. Strength

You must do strength training and get those muscles working. Muscle mass will deplete with age, if we allow it. The more muscle mass you have, the younger your body is (in biological terms).  

Muscles grow after you exert force of them. Strength training improves balance, co-ordination and reduces blood pressure. Many people suffer with these afflictions, so focus on it.

Get lifting, get stronger, but be careful and sensible. Don't place undue force on your spine or back.  It is better to lift with good form and control, than to overload. You are lifting for strength, not admirers.

Dumbbell weights and resistance bands can be bought cheaply. Turn your garage or shed, into a gym, if needed.

2. Flexibility

Flexibility, is the ability to move the muscles and joints, more fluidly. This is a weak area for many men. I can't even touch my toes!

Women tend to have better flexibility than men. Watch your children play, and you will understand how inflexible you've become.

Better flexibility means less injuries and better muscle performance. All is not lost! You can improve your flexibility, with flexibility exercising. 

Yoga is a terrific way to tackle this problem. Check out this YouTube video, a 20-minute yoga workout for beginners. You don't even need to leave the house.

3. Mobility

This concerns balance and posture. Desk jobs require us to sit down for long periods, so we lose our natural mobility. This can cause aches, pains and repetitive strain injuries. 

In many ways, mobility is linked to strength and flexibility training. 

Many people lack mobility as they age. You must keep your body moving and your body mobile. A lack of movement is not an option.

4. Stability

Stability focuses on balance. As people age, stability can deteriorate. This can lead to serious falls and injury. 

Weak points in the body, will impact stability. These weak points are typically joints or muscles. Building up your strength and flexibility, is vital, to support your stability.

Incorporate stability exercises in to your fitness regime. For example, standing on one leg, or using a BOSU or exercise ball.

5. Agility

Speed, agility and reflexes are all related. This is your ability to move and react fast.

Just by losing weight, you will approve your agility. Many sports, require a degree of agility.

Look at activities that require agility. Personally, I focus on intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost my agility. It's the "go to" exercise, because I can do it quickly and anywhere.

Quick explosive movements, help to boost your agility. Keep your body and mind agile, by exercising both.

6. Endurance

Endurance is about fitness and lasting the pace. It's about overcoming tiredness and fatigue, to carry on. When you have children, you need energy in buckets. 

Greater endurance levels, give you greater stamina. This means you possess energy, over a prolonged period. The greater your endurance, the greater your physical health. 

Age is a limiting belief. You can possess the endurance of someone half your age. 

7. Nutrition

This doesn't need an introduction. Nutrition is vital. You are what you eat!

Our bodies use food to function and repair. We must feed it proper nutrition. Avoid sugary or processed foods like the plague.

Losing weight, helps to tackle issues like type 2 diabetes, insomnia and heart disease.

Also, as we age, our metabolism declines. Consuming less calories, is the only way to reduce body fat. Consuming the right calories, is the only way to look and feel healthy.

I have talked about this before (How I Said "Goodbye" To Dad-bod). If you are overweight, you must correct the diet. Diet is key.

Final Thoughts

Getting old, is no excuse for poor health. Don't give up on yourself.

Maintain your energy and health, by focusing on these seven principles.

Use the principles to assess yourself. Analyse where you are at with strength, flexibility, mobility, stability, agility, endurance and nutrition.

Focus on weak areas and make the necessary changes. Look after yourself, you only get one body.

*Total Fitness After 40 by Nick Swettenham, is available here.

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