3 Exercises That Are Perfect for Busy Dads

Exercising Dad

If you’re anything like most dads, exercising tends to fall down towards the middle or bottom of your list of priorities.

You tell yourself you’ll work out, you might even fully intend to work out, but something always comes along that’s more important or more urgent.

Before you know it, years have passed, you’re packing on a spare tire, you get winded walking to your car after work, and your doctor’s telling you it’s time to start looking at blood pressure medications.

Look, it’s no secret that exercising helps you in every way imaginable. You already know that. You’ve heard that a million times. Mind, body, etc., it’s good stuff. Getting in the routine of regular exercise is vital to your mental and physical health, and it can do wonders for your career and for your personal life.

But not all exercises are created equal. And for dads, the exercises that take too much time or cause us to think too much end up getting abandoned.

Fortunately for both of us, here are 3 types of exercises geared specifically for busy dads that will help you achieve the benefits of regular exercise without interrupting your busy lifestyle too much.

1. Running

Before you keep scrolling, hear me out. Running can look different depending on who you are and what your capabilities are. Not everyone who runs should be running 10ks at a 9-minute-mile pace. You can do this thing called jogging. It’s where you elevate your heart rate by moving slightly faster than a walk without going too fast that you want to vomit. It’s actually kind of nice.

Running (or jogging) requires no equipment and can be done anywhere at any time. So truthfully, if you’re not spending at least some time running, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

One study that analyzed the effects different types of workouts have on the brain found that “sustained aerobic exercise might be most beneficial for brain health”.

In other words, your brain loves running, biking, or any other sustained aerobic exercise, and it’s able to think better when you do these activities.

It makes sense really. If nothing else, running gives you time and space to think. No distractions, no noise, just you and the road (or trail or treadmill or whatever). And for dads with little kids at home, that peaceful environment can be the perfect way to recharge so you’re fully present and prepared for what you handle on a daily basis.

You don’t have to run long distances either. A 20-minute run is perfect. I usually run no more than 1-2 miles at a time, and I can tell you a 1.5 mile run is just as effective as a 3 mile run when it comes to the health benefits of running.

In fact, running moderately is actually healthier than running really long distances. If you get to where you’re running more than 15-20 miles a week, you should probably scale it back some.

So one morning this week, wake up an hour earlier, set a goal of how far or how long you want to run (no matter how short that may be), and try it out. You’ll see what all the rage is about.

2. Burpees

Let’s be honest. Burpees suck. But they’re a SUPER quick way to get a great workout.

When you have a packed schedule, responsibilities stacked up, a 9-hour workday, kids’ sports practice to get to after work, dinner, bath, and everything in-between, the last thing you have time to do is a long workout. That’s when you can turn to the trusted burpee.

When it comes to burpess, it doesn’t take much. A dabble’l do-ya, as they say. 

Do 4 sets of 25 and you’re out the door in 15-20 minutes.

Or you can try one of these burpee workouts.

No matter how you decide to do them, I can’t think of a faster workout that works your full body and increases strength and stamina the way burpees do.

3. Stretching & Yoga

If you’re not stretching on a regular basis, it’s time to start.

And I don’t mean bending over to touch your toes for 30 seconds every day. We’re talking about going through a short but intentional stretching or yoga routine.

How will stretching help you get in shape? Well, getting in shape is about more than having strong muscles and looking good. It’s about being physically capable all-around, and stretching will help you do just that.

Stretching also helps with the stress that’s an o-so-natural part of being a parent.

How does stretching help with stress?

To quote Dr. Oz himself:

Stress restricts blood flow, causing tension in your muscles and lower back. Stretching stimulates receptors in the nervous system that decrease the production of stress hormones. The secret is to isolate the muscles that store tension by stretching the lower back, shoulders and neck.

Dr. Oz

If that doesn’t convince you, here’s another quote:

Stretching is an effective strategy to aid in the relief of stress. It lengthens the muscles to relieve tension

Jaime Longval, M.S., a certified strength and conditioning specialist at Brown University and The Miriam Hospital Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine in Providence, RI.

So it turns out there’s a reason why people absolutely will not stop talking about yoga. I get it; as a man we don’t like yoga. But some of the most difficult workouts I’ve done have been yoga sessions. It’s grueling stuff, but it leaves you feeling like a different person when you’re done.

Similar to running, though, you don’t have to take it to the extreme. Simply following a moderate stretching routine or yoga routine like this one on a regular basis will provide both stress-relief and overall better fitness – not to mention you’ll be limber as a rag.

Now there’s no reason to skip workouts.

I get it, you’re busy. That’s a real problem dad’s face when they’re trying to stay in shape. But focusing on the exercises that offer the most benefit to your lifestyle just might provide the motivation you need to keep exercise in your weekly routine.