Almost two years ago I became a father of a beautiful baby girl. Over that time I often found myself, as any parent would, sacrificing my own mental and physical health for my child. That eventual exhaustion led to a reevaluation of my health goals. As the new year of parenting is about to begin, I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned from watching my daughter grow and develop in her first two years. I hope they help you advance your health too!
Every night was the same. Dim the lights, turn off all the over-stimulating toys, read quietly, and hit the crib. Every night. Sleep is vital for healthy recovery and performance, try applying those same principles to your adult habits: kill the cell phone and tv at least an hour before bed, pick up a book, chill, and destress after a long day.
Make time for Activity
Every pediatrician stresses the importance of tummy time in a baby’s first year. Beginning with 5 minutes a day and increasing a few minutes each month. It’s not much, and some babies hate it, but it is vital to their growth and development. Activities and exercises are the same way. You may be out of your comfort zone at first, but start with small, simple and achievable goals and grow! Going to the gym 5 days a week feel too daunting? That’s ok, begin with going for a lap around your office after every bathroom break. Find a friend who can perform activities with you and keep you accountable. And remember: the best exercise is the one you enjoy doing the most. It doesn’t have to be in the gym or exercise class, just get up and get active.
We were those parents who puréed our baby’s food and I often found myself envious of how pure, clean, and free of junk my daughters food was! So I tried eating my daughter’s diet, albeit larger quantities. It was super easy! Buy simple veggies, fruits, meat. Avoid or limit food with labels. Food doesn’t have to be complicated, just like exercising – keep it simple! My recommendation is to go heavy on the veggies (ie eat more that you think), choose a lean meat and go light on the seasoning, and reward yourself with a small side of carbs (sweet potato, couscous, quinoa all work great).
Start Living Healthy
Living healthy does not have to be complicated. Just do what babies do! Keep it simple, do activities you enjoy, eat clean, and stick to a bedtime routine.
By Cole Racich, PT, DPT, OCSDoctor of Physical Therapy
Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical SpecialistI