With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s important to recognize how to keep our dads, no matter the age, in tip top shape–mentally and physically. Considering how much they support us, we should show our gratitude by encouraging healthy behaviors and family activity.
Here are some starting points that should work well for any family dynamic.
Take Excursions With The Family
These aren’t vacations necessarily, mind you, but day or weekend jaunts that don’t require much driving time. So rather than burn energy sitting in a car all day, you can hit the hiking trails, go on bike tours, visit amusement parks, and so much more. The key is choosing active activities that are appropriate for his age and health level. Not only are you burning calories, you’re also getting in family bonding and new memories. What’s more? Even light to medium exercise produces endorphins (the chemical behind happy feelings), thereby making your activities all the more memorable.
Planning these outings doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders, either. The entire family can submit suggestions and other activities.
Practice Family Kitchen
Simply put: cook as a family! Think of it as running a restaurant kitchen for one or two nights per week. Pick simple and fun recipes that three or more people can make together and also are reasonably healthy. (Read: Avoid high fat or fried foods). Beyond encouraging healthier ingredients, kitchen time provides perfect opportunities to share proper safety techniques such as using knives and food sanitation. After a while, your family might even start making your own original recipes.
In the meantime, try this jerk chicken recipe as a crowd-pleasing starting point.
Annual Doctor Week(s)
Many studies have shown that men are less likely to go see their doctors than women are. In one study, the reason is due to internalized gender roles like self-reliance and toughness. The key is repositioning medical visits as more than the self. In other words, Dad’s health also affects the welfare of others.
Make that transition easier by using group accountability. If your schedule allows, schedule all family health checks during a one or two week window. Not only is everyone getting a valuable check-up, but each family member can hold the other accountable–especially Dad.
Encourage Alone Time
This suggestion stands out because it doesn’t involve group activity–but that’s exactly the point. Everyone is doing the same task with similar expectations. For Dad, this means getting recharged by reading a book, watching his favorite TV show, or relaxing in the backyard. It’s the perfect antidote for stressful days or transitioning into the weekend. In effect, this creates a safe space for all family members.
Just make sure Dad doesn’t try and sneak in stressful activities like answering work emails, as those activities defeat the purpose of alone time.