It amazes me how much my 5-year-old son looks up to me, imitating my behavior even as he develops his own identity. Watching him watch me has made me realize how important it is for fathers to model healthy habits. Exercise isn’t just something we do for ourselves; it impacts the health of our future generations. Dads, let’s all man up, get off the couch, and show our kids what it means to be healthy!
My son sees me working out all the time, and I’ve encouraged him to make fitness part of his life, too. Team sports give children the chance to build strength and agility, not to mention the many wonderful benefits that come from being part of a team.
But you don’t need Little League to encourage your child to be physically fit. Plan some fun outdoor activities to get your heart rate up and include the whole family. Turning exercise into a family affair is a great, healthy way to spend time together and to create positive emotional associations with fitness.
Being a healthy role model isn’t just about working up a sweat. Think twice before you hit the drive-through after a long day at the office. The effort involved in putting a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table will pay off, as your children learn to enjoy the taste of whole foods that haven’t been deep-fried and full of fat, salt and sugar.
Our kids learn from everything we do. Showing our sons and our daughters that regular exercise and healthy eating are a normal part of life is a gift we give them that will set them up for a lifetime of good health.
Get fitness and sports nutrition tips from personal trainer Deniz Duygulu, an International Federation of BodyBuilders Men’s Physique pro athlete. Like Deniz on Facebook to watch videos demonstrating correct form and for advice on fueling effectively.