A good father is one of the most unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets to our society”- Billy Graham

Fathers truly are the unsung heroes of our families, society even. And it’s really scary to imagine my life without mine. The guidance, the strength, the courage, and the infinite wisdom is hard to replicate in our lives. I often find myself worried silly about his wellbeing and I am sure that I am not alone. It is thus, extremely imperative to emphasize the importance of taking care of yourselves to our beloved papa-bear.

Although a few conditions may be unfortunate tyrannies of nature but, as a doctor, I have found that many diseases can be prevented by following a good lifestyle. A simple four-step plan comes to mind when I talk about lifestyle — it includes a well-balanced diet, productive exercise, abundance of love, and a less-stressful life (I say less because stress-free might be overly ambitious).

So, let me elaborate on the four simple steps and let’s make it very easy –

  1. A well-balanced diet can go a long way in ensuring adequate vitamins, minerals, preventing heart disease, and even delaying or managing diabetes despite the poignancy of genetics. Those seem like good benefits even if it means including more green food as opposed to greasy, fried food or an abundance of red meat. I mean let’s face it, we love our spices and our curries but we can cook so many things with rich flavour without dousing our food in oil, so we could look for great tasting healthier alternatives and cut back on the trans-fat and processed junk. It may also give all our wonderful fathers a chance to experiment with healthy cooking and make it a family experience with the kids helping out – we all know there’s a chef in there somewhere; so let it come out.
  2. Exercise, time and time again, has proven to be a boon in the prevention of a myriad of diseases. So be it — playing a sport, jogging, or even brisk walking for a cumulative minimum of 150 minutes a week – all these have proven to reduce incidences of cardiovascular diseases and its associated mortality. In fact, regular exercise, as opposed to none, has been preached repeatedly by healthcare professionals because its benefit far outweighs any supplementation or pharmacological prevention. It is very simple — make time for some activity every day, be it by yourself or better still, make it a family routine. Engaging in regular physical activity, aside from the cardiovascular benefits, also offers aesthetic benefits, and the release of endorphin concurrently improves the most insipid of moods. So to the fathers who haven’t started yet, get up and get moving.
  3. In our modern-day hurry, it is easy to understand why many fathers feel inundated with pressure but, it is important to realize that constant pondering can be detrimental to health. Be it family pressures, financial pressures, work pressures – all can contribute to the stress; but, taking a few hours a day or even a week just for yourself can reduce your disease-risk. The finite things pass by in life so quickly so, take a moment to stand and stare & enjoy a little along the way. A few hours of yoga or meditation or indulging in activities that give you happiness — like listening to music, watching a good movie, watching a sports game, or even video gaming for a few hours; can go a long way in the prevention of diseases, especially CAD (coronary artery disease).
  4. The last feather on my four-step longevity plan & easily my personal favourite is to surround yourself with love. Studies have shown strong correlations between having a peaceful, loving family life and a decrease in incidences of diseases like CAD (coronary artery disease), mental illnesses, and holistic wellness. A father’s contribution to the family’s stability & a happy home is immense – so spend time with your children and your spouse and shower them with affection and love. The positive rewards are palpable and the prevention method is easily implementable. Take the initiative, set the tone, and be joyful. Not only are the health benefits magnanimous; the resultant positivity may even translate to better personal growth in your family’s overall success story.

On a personal note, however, I have always believed that a ‘father’ transcending into a ‘dad’ may well be the best thing for his children. In fact, I can anecdotally verify that his influence has played a major role in shaping me into the woman and the doctor I have become today. Just as Asha Patrick once said, “I encourage all fathers to focus on the intangibles, because those are the gifts that make the difference.”

So this Father’s Day, please remember to take care of yourselves, dads. Use the four very simple and easily implementable lifestyle choices. The trick is to start with baby steps – who knows that better than you?

Happy Father’s Day, dads!