When did the phrase 'dad bod' enter the lexicon?
I first heard it a few years ago and now it is both a linguistic standard and, I have also noticed, becoming something of a badge of honour for men of er, a certain age. As popularly understood, dad bods’ can be identified by their thickness, are usually indicative of strength and suggest a certain kind of cuddliness.
A lot of cuddliness.
Strictly speaking, I include myself, as a man in his late 30s, in the category of men that can use the term 'dad bod'' freely, if I choose to do so. I don’t think I have what can be described as a dad bod’, myself. If I was to describe my build I would characterise it as being muscular and thick, with strong legs, wide shoulders and a solid core built from years of playing rugby and following a whole-body fitness programme.
I like to run, lift weights and eat a balanced diet. I also make time to rest and sleep, and I enjoy doing both (though that’s a topic for a different podcast).
I was reminded of the debate around the iconic status of the dad bod’ recently when I read an online article by Greg Rutherford (pictured, not looking exactly dad bod’-ish) on how some people see the dad bod’ in contemporary culture. For Olympic champion Rutherford, as he explains in his article, becoming comfortable with a dad bod’ is something which he has accomplished over the years and which he is entirely relaxed about.
And frankly, as a successful athlete with a lifetime of achievement, Rutherford is more than entitled to feel comfortable in his body and to enjoy the life he has today. As it struck me when I read the article, does Rutherford look that bad in the photographs that accompany the piece? I would say not (particularly as he is in training as a swimmer with a new set of challenges ahead of him).
For us men, the combination of genetics, environmental factors, a changing diet and lifestyle means that most of us will change shape as we get older. How much we change, and in what direction, is actually down to us and to the time and energy we put into the maintenance of our health, body and mind. For those of us lucky enough not to be afflicted by illness or injury, however, surely the ambition should be to adapt and live active lives as much as the demands of life allow us?
Which can be achieved through adaptive exercise, sensible diet and by utilising the opportunities afforded us by changing professional responsibilities. My advice to men moving through the years where exercise is concerned is to maintain (indeed to dial-up) weight and resistance training, to moderate the cardio’ and to embrace the challenges presented by new exercise routines and activities.
Viewing the process of living as an ongoing challenge filled with stimulating activities is a healthy and invigorating way to live and there is no reason why it should stop being so because the clock is only moving in a particular direction.