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How to Stay Young…Even with Kids

How to Stay Young…Even with Kids


    People often feel their age once they become parents. Not only does the physical toll of childcare begin to wear down the body, but so does the emotional stress on the mind.

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    Left unchecked, this can gradually degenerate into an unfortunate physiological condition, often technically referred to as “Old & Cranky”. To avoid such a diagnosis and recapture the feeling of “young & hip”, here are three practical tips:

    1. Get Down and Dirty with your Kids

    It is difficult to have fun playing with your children. How can it be “fun” when you are constantly interrupted with zillion questions while you are on your smartphone/Facebook complaining to another parent about the tedium of playing with your kids? However, have you ever really tried to “play” with them, at their level, seeing things through their perspective, empathise with the things that fascinate and frustrate them? Doing so will, of course, feel a little childish but isn’t that the whole point—to rescue yourself from “Old & Crankiness”?

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    In any case, isn’t finding the answer to your child’s question “why are some dogs’ poo white?” just as stimulating as responding to your friend’s question “Why did Celebrity X break up with Celebrity Y”? More importantly, adopting this attitude may actually put some real “fun” into your interaction with the children.

    2. Date Your Partner

    The most crucial prerequisite to this action is to get hold of a trustworthy babysitter—someone you feel comfortable leaving your precious children with once a week while you and your partner are out painting the town red. Labouring through a forced dinner at a fancy restaurant worrying about how they are at home does not qualify as painting the town red, nor does sitting through a poshy musical while texting the babysitter once every 10 minutes.

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    I am talking about really re-living the good ‘ol days when you were both young and spontaneous, knocking back cheap beers at an even cheaper pizzeria, fooling around at the back of a cinema with no clues about what is on the screen or just dancing (badly) the night away, laughing and jabbering about everything but the children.

    3. Fall in Love with a Hobby

    Think back to a time in B.C. (Before Children) when you were truly passionate about something (watching TV doesn’t count), be it pursuits of physical (running, cycling), intellectual (chess, poker?) or even eccentric nature (stamp collecting, writing). Then recite the “story” that you automatically trot out in A.D. (After Descendents arrived) as to why you can no longer pursue these passions (no time, no money, no energy, etc).

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    Now, completely invalidate the “story” by resuscitating all the reasons that first attracted you to those old hobbies, or developing zeal for new ones. This simple act of igniting a passion in one area not only can add an extracurricular strand of excitement to your life, but also has the potential to diversify your mood away from being exclusively dictated by how well your work progresses during the week and how your children behave at the end of it.

    Final Thoughts

    If these tips make you sigh with trepidation because of the perceived efforts required, it is a sign that you are already at an advanced stage of the “Old & Cranky” ailment. Snap out of it and force yourself into these actions. While they may seem daunting at the beginning, the consequent benefits will be appreciated by, not just yourself, but also your partner and your children. As for those who already do these things (and more) as a matter of course, you should really be the one writing for Lifehack, suggesting further steps that people like me should take to feel more “lively and crazy”, even with kids who are livelier and crazier.

    (Photo credit: Kite Flying via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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