Repay all that Father’s Day love by giving your family the gift of time

Repay all that Father’s Day love by giving your family the gift of time

Father’s Day gifts are awesome no matter what. Even if your kids bring you burnt toast and eggshell-filled omelettes, your day is still made because it’s the thought that counts. In cases like these, the thoughts revolve around the importance of family. They show their love and appreciation for none other than you, a.k.a. Dad.

What can you do for your family in return? Ultimately, the best gift you can give them is the gift of time. Spending  time with your kids is great because it’s natural, free and fun — as these easy ideas show:

Little boy playing road hockey

Road hockey

Do you have a driveway or live in a cul-de-sac? Is there a schoolyard or park nearby? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a few hockey sticks and a tennis ball away from hosting your own Stanley Cup Finals. Teaching your kids new skills and watching them improve is incredibly rewarding, and is one of the easiest ways to connect with your child. Plus, you never know,  you might end up with the next Sydney Crosby or Hayley Wickenheiser.

Shooting hoops

Whether you’ve bolted a net to your garage or there’s a court in a nearby park, a game of 21 with your son or daughter lets everyone channel their inner Raptor.

Grandfather, father, and son playing basketball

A Quick Game of Tag

Father and daughter running on the grassy field

No child under the age of 12 can resist joining in when you simply tag them and holler, “You’re it!” You better run fast, though, those kids can move!


Brother and sisters playing a game of charades

Google “charades clues” on your computer or smartphone, and you’ll get dozens of lists you can use to stage a spirited game. If your teen claims charades are “lame,” get the ball rolling yourself. If they guess correctly, they’ll get into it. If not, at least you’ve shown them that dad can loosen up.

Walk it off

Father carrying his son on his shoulders with sunset behind them

Okay, we know we said time was the greatest gift of all, but that doesn’t mean your family won’t appreciate a frozen yogurt or ice cream after some active Father’s Day fun. Walk with them, talk with them, and who knows? Maybe they will teach you a thing or two!

What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received or given? Share your faves in the comments below!

This article was originally published on February 17, 2017.

Don’t worry, be healthier — one small step at a time

Don’t worry, be healthier — one small step at a time

Canadian comedian shares his journey from worried dad to man with a plan to make manageable lifestyle changes.

For many Canadian guys, this bit from Toby Hargrave’s stand-up comedy routine is funny because it’s true: “I’m at that age where sometimes things hurt and I have no idea why. If you’re 20 and you show up to work with a limp there’s always some kind of epic adventure behind it. Today I show up with a limp and people are like, “What happened?” And I’m like, “I don’t know!”

Toby, 44, describes himself as “spectacularly average.” The actor and comedian, who lives with his young family on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, carries about 265 pounds on his six-foot-tall frame. He has spent most of his adult life drinking alcohol almost every day, and does most of the cooking in his household. With “comfort foods like ribs, roasts and pierogies” among his favourite dishes, counting calories has been a foreign concept. With a family to support and career to pursue, exercise tends to end up on the back burner.

About a year ago, following the birth of his second child, Toby began to worry about his health (or lack thereof). Then he was informed about a partnership between Telus Corp. and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation — the organisation behind the blog you’re reading — to produce a men’s health documentary. Toby’s goal of learning how to be healthier and lose weight turned out to be a perfect fit for the video at the top of this page, while his hilarious credentials speak for themselves.

Toby Hargrave in his garage thinking

Step 1: YouCheck

Before his concerns arose, Toby jokes that “an undiagnosed case of lazy” prevented him from learning more about the state of his health and how to improve it. His first move, then, is to assess his health using the CMHF’s YouCheck tool. The free online survey asks 18 questions about health history and lifestyle, and then assesses the risk of developing eight of the most common diseases and conditions among Canadian men.

“That first step wasn’t so hard,” Toby says after using YouCheck. With a couple of flags raised, but no imminent dangers detected, he moves on to Step 2…

Toby Hargrave by beach standing tall on a log

Step 2: See your doctor

Next Toby meets with Dr. Robert Menzies, a Vancouver-based family doctor. As part of the appointment Toby had already undergone a battery of standard medical tests, and is clearly relieved when Dr. Menzies gives him the all-clear. “It’s freeing when you have all this information that you need to know,” Toby says. “I’m not saying I don’t have to worry about my health, but I’m now not worried that my liver is about to fail. I’m not worried I’m about to develop Type 2 Diabetes by next week.”

However, Dr. Menzies does have some important suggestions. “We try to encourage people to drink no more than two drinks a day as an adult male,” he says. Toby chuckles in response, but the message is clear: Less alcohol, even a little bit less each day, can have big health benefits.

Losing a few pounds would also improve Toby’s health, the GP says, adding that “the main thing is that you stay fit and active and watch what you eat. If you do that, usually, you’ll find that the pounds do come off. It’s not about making a huge change, it’s about making a bunch of little changes here and there.”

What kind of little changes? Watch the video, or keep reading…

Step 3: Re-think the supermarket

Toby heads to a local supermarket with Ned Bell, the Vancouver Aquarium’s executive chef. Ned nudges Toby away from his favourite section of the store — the red meat section — and into the seafood section. “We have this idea that (meals) need to be big, but I’d prefer you to eat quality,” Ned says, encouraging Toby to try healthier fish instead of massive steaks. If he wants to eat more of something, Ned adds, he can always enjoy as many fruits and vegetables as he wants!

Toby is skeptical at first, but when his four-year-old daughter asks for a second helping of asparagus, “I realized that I might be doing something right,” he says. Since then, Toby has “rediscovered salads,” and makes meals that incorporate ingredients like pita bread, small amounts of feta cheese, tomatoes, olives and chicken. “After you’re done eating,” he quips, “you don’t feel like you ate a bowling ball.” He has also reduced his alcohol intake, as Dr. Menzies suggested, and swapped sugary soda pop for water.

Toby Hargrave biking with dog

Step 4: Exercise

The cameras follow Toby to a barbecue restaurant, where he meets with two buddies. They discuss their efforts to live healthier, with Toby saying that the biggest bombshell from his recent medical checkup “was that there were no bombshells.”

When the topic of exercise comes up, Toby admits that he doesn’t do much. That’s when the offer is made: Would Toby like to join one of his friends for a run in the park?

See how that pans out, and check out more easy steps for getting fit, by watching the video.

This article was originally published on January 6, 2019.

Photography by: Ken Cheng

These super-corny ‘dad jokes’ deliver when it comes to getting active with your kids

These super-corny ‘dad jokes’ deliver when it comes to getting active with your kids

Do you have a favourite “dad joke”? You know, a punny zinger that’s really corny? Like, a-maize-ingly corny?

As corny as they may be, dad jokes often contain kernels of wisdom (sorry, couldn’t resist). The five listed below, for instance, all reveal easy tips for dads to improve their health and the health of their loved ones by finding fun physical activities for the whole family on Father’s Day.

All these tips will also help you succeed in the 10 Minute Men Workout Challenge. As the video below explains, this new Facebook Group is for dads who want to challenge themselves to commit to being active for just 10 minutes per day to build a healthy habit over time. Join now, and you can take part in fun challenges, track your progress, and cheer on other guys like you!

The 10 Minute Man Workout Challenge

Starting this Sunday, May 24th, join Toby for the launch of the 10 Minute Man Workout Challenge! Sweat 10 minutes a day for 7 days to shed the stress of COVID. Come join our Facebook Group:

Posted by Don't Change Much on Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Who’s up for the world’s first 10-minute fitness challenge?

And if you want to share a truly horrendous dad joke with the other guys, all the better!

Walk the dog

Q: What do you call a dog that can do magic?
A: A Labracadabrador.

Man’s best friend gets so fired up about walks that dog owners often have to spell out W-A-L-K-I-E-S. As in, “Hey, feel like taking Rover for W-A-L-K-I-E-S?”

An invigorating family stroll or hike is a great call with or without a furry family member. Walking briskly for 10 minutes burns around 100 calories, with men who walk five city blocks a day, lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent.

Family walks are also great for getting from A to B: from your home to the supermarket, from the supermarket to the park, from the park to the vet (just don’t tell Rover), you get the idea. On that note…

Hit the Park

Dad lying on the grass lifting his baby

Q: Why is it so easy to have a stir-fried picnic?
A: It’s just a wok in the park.

Make the most of all that fresh air and grassy open space by playing a 10-minute game of tag or hide and go seek. Pro tip: Rover is amazingly good at hide-and-seek. The nose knows!

If your kids aren’t quite walking yet and looking for some fun dad and toddler activities, lie back on the grass and use them as adorable dumbbells. While little Johnny smiles and giggles, you count off three sets of 12 bench presses.

Get sporty

Father and daughter playing basketball

Q: Why are basketball players such messy eaters?
A: They’re always dribbling.

What’s the best cure for cabin fever? Active games for kids outside! If there’s a basketball court at the park, play a 10-minute game of horse or 21 with the brood. If there’s a parking lot near your house, bring a few sticks and a tennis ball for some road hockey. Public tennis courts nearby? Scour local garage sales for some racquets and play doubles.

Game on

Dad, mon, and son playing an active video game in the living room

Q: Why are cats so good at video games?
A: Because they have nine lives!

Video games don’t have to be couch-potato material. Thanks to an explosion in exercise gaming, interactive dance parties and sports are super-easy and are super-easy, and can be a fun indoor physical activity for kids. If you own a Nintendo Wii or similar system, try something like “Just Dance” or “Dance Dance Revolution.” Two or three dance tunes later, you’ve hit your 10-minute goal. If your kids are more into sports, try EA Sports for everything from 10 minutes of shooting hoops to mountain biking. You don’t need the latest versions of these games — anything from the last decade works just fine.

Active screen time

Q: When is the new Netflix documentary on constipation coming out?
A: It’s never gonna come out.

Rainy days don’t have to be lazy ones. By working some easy fitness moves into your screen time, your whole family can benefit. Every time a character on your show of choice asks a question, for instance, get the whole gang to run on the spot as fast as they can for 30 seconds. When anyone gets into or out of a car, break off 10 burpees. When characters kiss, hug or shake hands, break off 15 bicycle crunches. The brood picks the show, the parents make the rules (or vice versa), and you all have a blast. Didn’t hit your 10-minute goal by watching one show? Watch another! Now that’s a win-win. Plus, physical activities for kids make everyone sleep like champions.

On that note, what’s the best way to become an online fishing champion?
A: Live streaming.

Got any choice dad jokes to share? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re thinking about fitting more easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10-Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.

This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.

The Robert and Viktoria Little Foundation logo
British Columbia government logo
No time to workout? Here are 5 easy ways to sneak in exercise

No time to workout? Here are 5 easy ways to sneak in exercise

If watching an entire Netflix series from start to finish is no big deal, fitting a couple hours of easy to moderate exercise into your week should be a snap, right?

Not so fast! Many guys like you are already pressed for time before a new season starts streaming. Working hard, running errands, doing chores, minding kids, keeping the home fires burning, getting enough sleep — it all adds up, and when you throw in a few hours of TV time, there can be little time left for anything else, exercise included. 

But here’s a sweet little secret: You can get everything done, watch your favourite show, and STILL work in the exercise needed to stay fit and healthy. Does this involve cloning yourself? It sure doesn’t!

5 easy ways to exercise daily

Active time needed: 10 minutes.

No kidding! All you have to do is slide a few minutes of easy exercise into the things you already do each day.

  1. Get walking.

    Walking briskly for 15 minutes burns around 125 calories. Men who walk five city blocks a day lower their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. Walk to the supermarket instead of driving, or walk there from a more distant parking lot than the one you usually use. If you happen to hit a staircase along the way, all the better! Climbing stairs is a simple way to get more exercise at work and strengthen your legs’ biggest muscles. All the time you spend hoofing it goes towards the 150-minute recommended total. Plus, you can save a few bucks on gas and parking when you don’t have to drive your car!Clone walking in the park

  2. Get active with your kids.

    From pond hockey and tobogganing to hikes and games of tag, there are plenty of free, fun ways to get active with the brood. Having a good time while exercising is a great way to motivate yourself, and it does your family some good, too. Active playtime is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of children, with the United Nations pointing out that it is “essential to the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people.”

  3. Amp up your chores.

    There can be more to household chores than simply getting them out of the way. Doing them more quickly, and adding extra moves, can turn them into legit workouts. For instance:

    Shovelling: Clearing snow or moving soil burns more than 400 calories an hour, and if you lift the snowy load to chest height and hold it for 10 seconds it works all your major muscle groups: legs, core, back, shoulders and arms.

    Cleaning the eavestroughs: Climbing ladders, scooping out leaf goo and raking it up burns around 320 calories an hour. Moving the ladder more frequently than usual and climbing it more often will boost that number significantly.  

    Mowing the lawn: Pushing a gas-powered mower burns 300-plus calories every hour, with a manual mower adding nearly 200 calories to that figure.Clone mowing the lawn

  4. Workout WHILE watching TV.

    Now, THIS is a win-win! By working some easy fitness moves into your entertainment routine, your whole family can benefit. Every time a character on your show of choice asks a question, for instance, run on the spot as fast as you can for 30 seconds. When anyone gets into or out of a car, break off 10 burpees. When characters kiss, hug or shake hands, break off 15 bicycle crunches. You pick the show, make the rules, and have a blast!Clone doing pushups while watching sports

  5. Join the 10 Minute Men workout challenge.

    10 minutes a day of exercise can make a difference. Your mind and body won’t change overnight, but when you choose to rejoice in small successes you set yourself up to do more good the next day. That’s why we’ve created The 10 Minute Men group on Facebook where you’ll be in the company of other guys like you across Canada. Join in on the fun, 10 minutes at a time!10 Minute Men Facebook cover

Have you found other easy ways to get exercise? Feel free to share them with other guys in the comments below.

If you’re thinking about fitting more easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10-Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.

This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.

The Robert and Viktoria Little Foundation logo
British Columbia government logo
Why fight traffic when you can harness pedal power?

Why fight traffic when you can harness pedal power?

Raise your hand if you just love the rush-hour drive to work. No hands? Thought so. We all know the terrible feeling of banging your head against the steering wheel during another traffic jam. 

Now, imagine replacing that tiresome, expensive commute with something cheaper, healthier, and fun! What is this amazing form of transportation? Turns out it’s been around for more than a century: It’s the bicycle.

Bike boom

There’s never been a better time for Canadian guys to take up cycling. Cities and towns across the country are spending millions of dollars a year on adding bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure, which in turn leads to faster, safer excursions and commutes. Workplaces are adding bike lockers and showers. The equipment is becoming more accessible and economical too — gone are the days of having to choose between a Tour de France speed machine and something grandma would ride. Click here to find the type of bike that suits you best.

So what can cycling do for you? Plenty, it turns out:


Get fit…for life!

A leisurely bike ride burns more calories than walking, 280 versus 175 per hour, give or take, and typically gets you where you’re going more than five times faster. Pedal more quickly or climb a hill, and the fitness benefits only increase. In addition, cycling gets your legs and heart pumping without pounding your joints. This reduces the risk of injury and as a result, cycling becomes a lifelong activity. That’s why cycling is so good for you!


Save money

Not including the value of the vehicle, driving costs around 50 cents per kilometre when you factor in gas, insurance, maintenance and other fees. So if you live within biking distance of your workplace, do the math: If you cycle 10 kms instead of driving twice a week, you’ll save around $520 per year. 

Improved fitness may save you, and every Canadian, even more in the long run if this recent Canadian Men’s Health Foundation Study is anything to go by. Giving up a car entirely can be tough, but many people combine car-sharing and cycling to cut back on costs and help the environment. 


Reduce stress

Exercise of any kind reduces stress, but cycling has been shown to be especially beneficial. A recent New Economics Foundation study revealed that bike commuters report lower stress levels than drivers and transit-takers, while a 2006 report by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute found that a much higher rate of bike commuters say they like their commute, compared with those using other vehicles.

So let’s follow the lead of Freddie Mercury when the Queen frontman sings, “I want to ride my bicycle!”

This article was originally published on July 21, 2016.

Pin It on Pinterest