Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 22 August 2023
Our Father's Day Blog series continues with Damian and Ian, who both have children in their teens and early 20's. Learn how they maintain their mindfulness whilst being present with their kids.
Damian Williams @damian_walbsy
How many children do you have and how old are they?
3 - 21, 17 & 15
What is your sport/exercise of choice and how long have you been doing it?
I run and have also started a little playing AFL with my eldest
Do you have a favourite location or national park to exercise?
Various paths in my local area
What is your favourite piece of equipment that you always use before/during/after your exercise?
Kinesiology tape for ongoing Achilles issues
What is something you have learned since combining exercise and kids in your life?
You need to find the time. Force it in if you have to!
What are some challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
Finding the time between work and being a single parent running kids around.
What has been your greatest achievement in your sport?
Running 15km nonstop. Having had a gastric sleeve, I have only just started my exercise journey. There was a time when I couldn’t run for 1 minute without a rest.
Do you have any future goals for your sport?
To run a marathon.
Do your children have any involvement in your sport?
Not in running, eldest and youngest both play Aussie Rules.
How do you encourage your children to be active?
By being involved and present there for them.
How do you incorporate sport into your daily/weekly routine?
Make time to get my exercise in… it makes a huge difference to me and my mindfulness.
What advice would you give to another dad wanting to get into exercise/sport but may be unsure as to where to start?
Just do it. Make time, do something, start somewhere!
Ian Burns @Ianburns1974
Three kids. 22, 20 and 7 years old.
Tough one. I've found that if I focus on only one sport I'm susceptible to injury. Running and badminton are what I do the most, followed by cycling but in an ideal world I'd hike/fastpack much much more.
Toss up between Tallaganda NP/State Forest near which we lived for nine years and Namadgi NP now that we have moved back into Canberra. Tallagnda has better trail running. Namadgi gets oodles of snow and has better hiking.
Properly fitting shoes, namely the Inov8 Trailroc 235 for trails and Altra Escalante for road. I have wide feet and have always struggled to find shoes that fit. Honourable mentions to the UD Marathon vest, UD Fastpak 20 and Patagonia Houdini windshell.
Parenting is hard. Regular exercise makes it easier.
My eldest child was born with Cerebral Palsy and Autism and for most of this time I have been his primary carer. Regular exercise, in the limited time available, has been essential to keep me sane, balanced, and ready to cope with the challenges that have been presented.
In recent years? My own solo 50km+ trail runs in Namadgi come to mind. One winter 50km epic a couple of years ago which had it all, bottomless mud, snow, ice and heinous elevation gain springs to mind. Earlier this month I completed a 30hr epic hike in Namadgi after a heavy snowfall. 54km (25km slogging through snow up to 80cm deep. The crux section was real type 2 fun. It had me questioning my life choices. I loved it.
Just to keep on keeping on. I'd like to try bike packing and some longer fast packing trips.
Older kids no but my 20yo used to hike a bit with me when she was younger. The 7yo walks regularly with me and our border collie and is counting the days until she can hike with me.
Be a good role model by staying active and healthy. I've found that my kids when young always show an interest in any sport I participate in. Sign them up for any sport until they find something that they love.
Currently, I have two set-in-stone regular badminton sessions which alone ensure a decent baseline of fitness. Trust me it's tough when played at a high level. I fit in 1-2 runs, the odd ride, and a few longish dog walks around the rest of my ever-changing schedule. Every week is different.
Fit exercise in wherever you can. For years I mainly ran late at night after the kids had gone to bed. Join regular groups and clubs that have set activity times which can be built into a regular routine. Park Run is an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning. A recurring blunder of mine is to forget my age and push my body too far and end up injured.