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TedClarkPosted by Ted Clark

Ted is the Communications Director for the Heart Disease and Stroke Program


This Father’s Day, I want to give a shout-out to all the great Dads and Grandpas out there. Not only is this a time for us to show appreciation for our fathers, it’s also a time to think about our health and the ever-growing reasons to stay fit.

 But staying fit doesn’t necessarily require vigorous workouts at an expensive gym or using a newfangled exercise machine. Being active as a Dad is actually a lot easier (and more fun) than you may think.DadPlayWithKid

As most Dads know, there are some things we’re naturally good at (and by ‘naturally,’ I mean we have no choice). Taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, replacing light bulbs – just to name a few. But in addition to all of the small tasks we take care of around the house, we also have one very special, important skill.

 We’re great play partners.

 And being active goes hand-in-hand with being a great play partner. Presently, staying fit for me means trying to keep up with my 3-year-old, who seems to be in a state of perpetual motion.

 At home, my daughter loves to play hide-and-sneak, which gets us both up and moving around the house and yard. And who ever thought tag with a 3-year old would be a workout? Even though I’m barely jogging, I’m getting my heart rate up while I chase around my favorite “secret agent.” She also loves to ask me for piggyback rides, or to do the “upside-down game.” Sometimes, I even find myself lifting her in a simulated weightlifting move, to sneak in a little formal exercise. (But, please don’t tell my wife that I “curl” my daughter!)

 Here are a few other ways to get moving with your kids, without even noticing:

  • Hopscotch or follow the leader
  • Red-light, green-light
  • Kick a ball back and forth, or play catch
  • Ride a bike, swim, or skate.
  • Play at a local playground (e.g., pushing your kids on a swing)
  • Run, walk, skip, or dance
  • Basketball (try lifting them up to bring them closer to the basket) or soccer

All of theses activities cost little or no money, and allow us to spend some quality time with our little guys and girls. And if you’re looking for something a little more “outdoorsy,” the Department of Conservation and Recreation has parks across the state for hiking, camping, and other recreational activities.

 With warm weather upon us, there’s every reason to get outside with your child this Father’s Day and reap the many benefits of staying active. See you at the park!

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