Dads today share not only a commitment to care for their beloved children but also a desire to lead by example to show how to live a life that’s both happy and healthy. These fathers are paving a path to optimal health for themselves and their family. They share their tips below:
Make good choices. While life can get in the way of carving out time for a good workout or a healthy meal, if you prioritize your health, you can be successful, says Hauppauge father of three and Smithtown chiropractor Scott Brunengraber. “I try every day to teach my children, as I teach my patients, that health is within your control and that it’s about choices we make.” Schedule healthy activities and seek support if needed, he suggests.
Spend quality time with family. “All work and no play will definitely not keep disease at bay,” says Brunengraber. Playtime with family can enhance both your health and your quality of life. “Maintaining one’s health and state of wellness helps ensure not only adding years to one’s life, but life to one’s years,” he says.
Embrace change and be flexible. Having kids can certainly rock your world and being able to go with the flow is critical to maintaining both your physical and mental health, says Kings Park dad Joseph Cundari, who notes that he was motivated to step up his health and wellness regime upon the birth of his child. “I am a person that used to dislike change. … Becoming a father shattered that,” he says.
Cundari says that he started off slowly, adjusting his diet, reducing his intake of fatty and salty foods, and adding more grilled vegetables and fruits. “Second change was time set aside for me—an absolute requirement.”
“Time is a commodity most parents don’t have enough of,” says Cundari. “So my key was to balance weeknight and weekend time.”
Get creative and enjoy life. Vinnie Paolano, a North Massapequa father of three adult children, says he has seven grandchildren to keep him young at heart and healthy too. Paolano, who says he was an alternate in the 1972 Olympics in Munich for USA Freestyle Wrestling, says the secret to maintaining his health is simple: “Take advantage of every opportunity to exercise; eat healthy but treat yourself once in a while; and live life to the fullest—don’t stay angry.”
Paolano says that he gets his workouts at the gym during the winter, in the pool in the summertime, and goes on hikes with his grandchildren in between. “I get a lot of exercise chasing after my youngest grandson too.” To set a good example, Paolano always has strawberries and other healthy snacks on hand to share with his grandchildren.