It’s the buzz word at the moment in the health industry ‘move often’ but as a dad what does that actually mean?

As a dad what are the benefits?

Professor Stuart Biddle recommends that every 30 minutes of sitting we should move and be active after he reviewed the ‘Start Active, Stay Active’ research.

The benefits of moving more have been forever highlighted in the media and here are just a few I focus on when working with dads in the Super You Project:

1). It is our lifelong inheritance

Moving our bodies – getting around under our own steam – is what we are born to do.

Things were a lot different back when our ancestors had to scavenge for food and protect their communities; when there were no real common places to take cover and the wild was a lot wilder than it is today (although there are some scary sights on the Gram).

We had chemicals in our bodies that were driving our responses to the types of threats we faced back in those days.

We had adrenaline to activate our ’you’d best fight or run, or you’re going to die’ response.

We had endorphins to release into the system as pain relief after running from danger for so long.

We had dopamine to give us that boost of achievement after we had caught our food or managed to get away from the beast that was chasing us.

We had oxytocin to build relationships with others, build communities, and make life easier – two heads are better than one, right?

The thing is that these chemicals haven’t gone anywhere – they still pretty much form the basis of how we make most of our decisions in today’s world.

Only the environment has changed. We no longer chase food – it is delivered to our front doors.

‘Danger’ is worrying whether someone liked your last post or whether that picture went into the cloud and, if so, whether your partner will see it. Yikes!

Relationships are based on swiping right or left rather than on ‘Hello … is it me you’re looking for?’

And, according to the environment we have built for ourselves, moving our bodies is hardly necessary any more.

We have forgotten Mother Nature built us for endurance, and we love success.

The chemicals in our bodies allow us to walk for miles and miles if we want to – ever heard of the ‘Man versus Horse’ race in Wales?

In the hunter-gatherer days, people would probably have jumped at the chance to hunt, purely because they were addicted to the runner’s high.

The runner’s high is the release of endorphins, which are our body’s natural pain relief. The hunters would get a double hit once they caught their food, too.

This was because the hormone released when we are successful is highly addictive.

This achievement-hormone is the one that most successful people seek to get a hit from.

As you can see, we are made to exercise.

2). It helps you live-longer

Dr. Steve C. Moore and a team of scientists analyzed data assessing people’s risk of cancer.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Health, followed over 650,000 adults aged 40 and older for a period of ten years.

The study’s findings, published in November 2012, showed that the people who said they completed their recommended daily dose of exercise lived, on average, for 3.4 more years than those who were inactive (Moore, 2012).

The National Health Services, recommended weekly dose of exercise is 2.5 hours – that’s 30 minutes per day for adults. Those who complete up to twice the recommended daily dose of exercise will increase their overall life expectancy by 4.2 years.

I say: walk your way to a long life!

3). You are worthwhile

I believe that being able to love others starts with loving oneself. This is not to be confused with vanity; self-esteem is having confidence in your own worth and in your own abilities.

Studies have shown that young people who value physical activity highly have a greater sense of self-esteem.

Increasing self-esteem allows us to enjoy self-acceptance and feel that our lives are worthwhile.

4). It reduces mental health problems

Something I am passionate about is having exercise as a natural remedy. I am not suggesting that pharmaceutical methods do not work and are not necessary; however, I believe that exercise makes a great contribution to self-management in mental health.

Extensive research into the benefits of exercise in relation to reducing anxiety and depression is clear and gives us a great indicator that exercise can be used as a self-management tool.

As you can see, as a dad it is extremely important to encourage more physical activity with our kids and get out and about to lead them to a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

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