Fathers play a crucial yet understated role in the lives of their children. While mothers tend to have a greater influence on children particularly when they are young, fathers often become the subtle role models. Traditionally women played a larger role in rearing children and looking after families. However, changing gender roles and shifting social norms have in recent years led to greater sharing of responsibilities at home and engendered a breed of more involved fathers.
This brings us to the all-important need for advocating healthy lifestyles for men. Men are believed to be more susceptible to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as sedentary living, unhealthy eating and smoking. Research has found that throughout their lives men are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack. Our hectic life pace, high stress work environments, lack of leisure time and physical inactivity are critical factors affecting health of both men and women.The average life expectancy of an Indian male is 68.5 years and is expected to further increase in the coming years. Increasing life expectancy and improvements in medicine have also turned the spotlight on the need for healthy ageing. Paying attention to healthy living practices, staying physically active and mentally agile and making efforts to stay happy and stress free are key elements of healthy lifestyles.
Being a father is not only about cuddling your children and being financially in-charge of the family, it must also make you more responsible towards your own self. By staying fit and adopting healthy lifestyles, you will pave way for longer and healthier lives as friend, philosopher and guides to your children.
Children often take fathers as their first inspiration. By leading healthy lifestyles, you can set the right example for your kids to follow. In fact, some studies have indicated that father’s food choices have a greater influence on children. Therefore, if you want your child to eat fruits, you cannot set an example of gobbling up potato chips.
In many ways, we are what we eat. What you eat does not just impact your own health but also has a bearing on the genetic conditioning of your future kids, even grandkids. Different studies have concluded that the diet induces changes in all cells including sperm and egg cells. This implies your eating habits will also impact the DNA of your progeny. Healthy eating implies sticking to more plant based foods and minimizing intake of processed foods and junk items. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, consuming wholefoods, low fat dairy products and lean meats are essential features of a balanced diet. Eating healthy not only prevents unwarranted weight gain but also keeps your overall health intact. Children practice not what they are told, but what they see. This will also set a right example before your children.
ExerciseBreaking the sedentary lifestyle routine is another important element of healthy living. Sweat it out every day. At least 30-60 minutes of exercise every day is essential to reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a host of other diseases. Take your kids out with you to ensure they adopt outdoor activities in their daily routine.
Happiness over material pursuits
The best way to focus on your health lies in embracing happiness and a stress free life. Apart from healthy diet and exercise, creating a happy space around yourself is critical element of overall health. Create an eco system of friends and family and a healthy work environment that makes you happy. Indulge in activities that give you inner happiness and satisfaction, rather than focusing too much on material pursuits. When you are happy and mentally relaxed, you will transfer good vibes to your family and kids as well.
Keep stress at bay
Stress might be an inalienable part of our lives but there are effective ways to manage it. Indulging in outdoor sports, adopting yoga and meditation, ensuring you get sufficient sleep daily, and staying away from too much texting and Internet surfing are key elements to keep your mind relaxed and stress free. It is also advisable to avoid using digital devices excessively in front of children and fill your family time with talks and discussions about each other that will give you inner happiness and satisfaction.