The above image is taken from the Health app on my iPhone. It shows since the birth of my daughter, at the start of February – bar a snow-induced aberration in March – my activity levels have been slowly increasing. But is it possible to stay fit as a new dad?
I’m marking the massive increase in May more down to two unseasonably sunny Bank Holidays in the UK demanding I spend as much time as I can outside replenishing my vitamin D levels.
The ‘Dad Bod’ has become synonymous with fatherhood. Men have to temporarily – and understandably – drop their exercise regime in favour of looking after their child and partner.
Newborn babies are time hoovers:- 2am feed, 6am feed, rush to work, 6pm bath followed by an hour spent getting them to sleep before cobbling something together resembling dinner, and finally enjoying a few minutes of relaxation.
Rinse and repeat for the first few months, at least.
Carving out time to look after number one is next to impossible, and inadvisable given having a baby rightly demands you place their needs above your own.
Which is why I was surprised when I checked the activity section in the Health app to discover my levels had in fact, been on an upward trajectory pretty much since the day my daughter arrived.
I was expecting to log in and cast a wry smile at my previously healthy activity levels reshaped into those of a social recluse. Not so.
I work a largely sedentary job that contributes very little to my activity levels. So the increase has to be attributed to external factors. And for the past four months, the only external factor of note has been arrival and care thereafter of my daughter.
Looking back, I never viewed the pounding of streets pushing a pram as exercise. It was a means to an end. And that end was a baby going to sleep. I usually viewed exercise as enjoyable – playing football with my mates, or listening to a podcast while running.
Suffice to say, I didn’t always enjoy pushing the pram in the twilight until the baby was sound enough to sleep to return home. Next time, however, I can take some solace from the knowledge that as well as rocking my daughter to sleep, I am also increasing my activity levels.
Turns out you can have a baby and get fit!