Not Just A Better Parent But Better Human Too

Getting fit is a selfish endeavor.

You start or continue to exercise because you want to look better, move better, and feel better. There is nothing wrong with that because this makes you (usually) an easier person to be around. Personally, exercise keeps my mood and attitude in check.

Being a parent for 17 years and a personal trainer for 12 years almost makes me qualified to talk about this. By almost I mean being a parent means you’re always flying by the seat of your pants. No one gives you an instruction manual when they pop out.

Because reading baby books doesn’t really prepare you for the onslaught. You learn by doing and by gaining experience on what works and what doesn’t.

We are all given the tools to look after another human, but it does take time to develop. Quite frankly I’m still developing because like most of us, I’m still a work-in- progress.

Anyhow, here are some observations from the trenches of training parents and being a parent. Not only does fitness make you a better human, but it also makes you more capable of looking after one too. Because sometimes fitness is not all about you.

1. You Set A Better Example

By no means am I the perfect role model for my kids or others. My behavior has left a lot to be desired but I’ve tried to set a better example by doing. Being a personal trainer for most of my kids’ lives they’ve seen me go to work, train clients and train myself.

Mostly, they’ve ignored me and done their own thing and pursued their own interests. Never have I asked them to exercise or for me to be their coach, until recently when they did.  And this example has been set by doing and not forcing.

Most people like to be shown but not told what to do, including kids. And by setting an example by taking active steps to improve your health, hopefully those around you (including your kids) will follow in your footsteps.

2. To Keep Up With Your Kids And Others

It’s no secret kids play less and spend more time in front of their screens. An electric babysitter of sorts. But I don’t blame parents or caregivers the chance for a break from their duties, far from it. There is middle ground between being a coach potato and being an over scheduled kid or parent.

One of the many reasons I lift is to have the occasional, ‘victory ‘over my kids to let them know I still got it.

When your kids have some get up and go or you encourage them to get up and go, it helps to keep up. Because moments when you play with your kids become few and far between has they get older, so you must take advantage of it.  

Plus, if you play a game, it’s great for your ego to kick their behind, just to let them know who is boss.

3. Parents, You Need to Take Care Of Yourself To Take Care Of Others

Pretty self-explanatory here. Yes, you can grind through it but at what cost? I get being a parent or a caregiver you need to put others ahead of yourself, just not too far ahead. Because it’s only a matter of time when your lack of self-care comes back to haunt you.

Exercising and eating better are two of the best caring things you can do for yourself. And when you care enough about yourself, you hopefully set an example for those around you too, like I mentioned above.

4. Keeps Your Head Screwed To Your Shoulders

I’m not sure about you but this whole COVID-19 pandemic, whether you believe it or not, has driven up my anxiety and has messed with my mind. And exercise has helped keep my head on straight.

Did you know besides the obvious physical benefits, exercise helps to reduce mild to moderate depressiondementia, anxiety and keep us sharp as we age.  Put simply, exercise directly affects our physical, metal and brain health.

Regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions particularly the hippocampus through better blood supply that improves overall brain health by improving the delivery of oxygen and other nutrients. (1)

The Hippocampus is an area of the brain that’s involved in memory, emotion regulation, learning and plays a crucial role in mental health. There is evidence to suggest many mental health conditions are associated with reduced growth and development of nervous tissue in the hippocampus.

Exercise will help stop you from getting to over emotional with your kids. Plus, it will also take them a lot more to drive you around the bend. Think of exercise as your buffer zone against the crazy.

But this only works if you’re NOT already crazy. 😊

Wrapping Up

Parenting or being a caregiver is a difficult job, but exercise helps make it easier. Plus, it helps set a good example and to occasionally put your kids back in their place. Because it helps to show them who’s boss.

You should see the look on my kids’ faces when I wipe the floor with them. It is priceless.

If you need an exercise program to get back on track click here.


  1. Monica

    Great article Shane! I love your comments about self-care!

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