How Fatherhood has changed my workouts
This past Sunday was my first Father’s Day. My son was born in October last year and boy has my life changed. During the first 2 months, I had zero time to exercise, as I was barely sleeping and adjusting to fatherhood. It’s amazing how this tiny little creature (my wife and I call our son “the dinosaur”) can change your life. I realized I wasn’t taking care of my body and I FELT it. You notice things that you do routinely get harder and this is where you need to take the initiative and do something about it. For me, it was lifting one of my client’s feet into the bike. He has trouble lifting his leg and normally I can lift and place it into the foot strap, but I had a difficult time leaning over and lifting his leg. I knew it was because I wasn’t as flexible and had to use my back. This was when I knew my body got stiff in that two months. As my son got into a good routine of sleeping through the night (hopefully I didn’t jinx myself here), I felt energized to get my workout routine back. But I knew I had to change my workouts and here is what I have been doing.
The first is prioritizing mobility. Initially, I didn’t realize how much actual physical work goes into taking care of a baby. I give my hat to those that make it look easy. All that carrying, picking up, putting down, playing, wiggling, and juggling around. The body gets tired and tight from all the awkward positions we are in. We all know where we are tight, so my first solution was to stretch those areas daily. My problem areas are my right shoulder and left hip. I know which stretches target these the best so I do them daily because it’s only going to help me. I find it easier to do the stretches throughout the daily multiple times rather than at once. Prioritizing mobility issues were the first thing I changed in my workout plan.
Secondly, getting my lower back stronger. I have always incorporated deadlifts, RDL, and glute bridges into my routine but I knew I had to do more back extensions. A lot of people are unable to do this mainly because they say it hurts their lower back, but this is because the lower back is not strong. I wouldn’t advise people that have disc or nerve issues (stenosis, spondylolisthesis, severe sciatica) to do it, but generally is an area that needs strengthening. I have noticed a huge difference when I am holding my son. When you hold an object in your arms for long periods of time, the back starts arching and this is when you start feeling that low back pain. The main reasoning for wanting my lower back stronger was so I can withstand the long periods of time holding my son when I go to amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, etc. So I am ready for that Disneyland! Or am I……?
Lastly, incorporating agility. Playing sports will be inevitable for my son as I grew up playing all types. My biggest fear is that I cannot keep up. Ever hear those stories where the dad went playing with their son and got injured? My athletic abilities are well past their prime (I’m 37), but I want to be able to play with my son as long as I can and enjoy it. Plus, I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of which parent my son loves (clearly he loves his momma hah)………………..Kei