Parenting is an endurance sport, no question about it. Any mom or dad who spends their day watching the kids knows how much patience and stamina it requires. Those of us who work all day at our job have the added stress of maintaining an income and then coming home for our second shift as a parent. When does it end?

Actually, it never really ends, but that's what being a parent is all about. We are on call 24 hours a day. Even when our kids are not around, our concern about their well being can keep us up at night. In light of the all the rigors of raising our kids, it makes perfect sense that we as parents need to maintain optimal health, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Only then can we be the best possible parent for our kids and life partner to our spouse.

June is National Men's Health Month, making it a good time for us fathers (and mothers) to make healthier life choices. It will send the message to our families that we care enough about them to take care of ourselves and will help to ensure that we will be there for them for many years to come. Plus, leading a healthier lifestyle will set a good example for our children to follow.

Here are 8 ways to get it done:

1. Exercise

Everyone knows the importance of exercise, we're just too busy or tired. The key is to not be too ambitious and set realistic goals. Some is better than none, and health experts are finding that even standing-up instead of being seated burns more calories. Plus, being active can be fun and rewarding if you do it with your family.

2. Eat Right

Like exercise, make health eating a priority. Choose more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and avoid processed convenience food and fast food. Eating right takes a little effort and common sense, but healthy choices will make you feel better and be the best that you can be for your family.

3. Reduce Stress

For most of us, stress is a regular part of our day, but often it is self-inflicted. Slow things down, and remember that a little organization goes a long way. In many instances, the things that weigh heavily on us are not really worth stressing about. As the saying goes, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

4. Spend Quality Time With Your Family

Studies have found that one of the keys to longevity is quality time with your family, with the key word being quality. This means turning off electronics and being in the moment. This will help you feel better and bring you closer to them. Remember, kids will naturally choose time with their dad; they have to be taught that we can be replaced with material goods.

5. Be a Part of the Community

Another positive influence for a man's (and woman's) health is being a part of your community. Having friends and neighbors nearby increases our sense of purpose and well-being, and it makes everyday life that much more enjoyable.

6. Sleep Enough

Sleep deprivation increases our vulnerability to a host of physical, emotional, and psychological problems, and yet it is so prevalent in our culture. Make sleep a priority and get to bed at a reasonable time. This may mean tweaking your schedule or forsaking a little screen time, but you can't put a price on a good night's sleep.

7. Pay Attention to Your Feelings

Despite the positive changes in our culture, men still feel the need to ignore their emotions in order to put on a confident face. The problem is, men have feelings and are susceptible emotional problems just as much as anybody. Rather than suppress men, we should feel comfortable acknowledging them and discussing them with the people who support us.

8. Watch Less TV

TV drains the energy and inspiration out of us. Not only are we sedentary for the time we're watching it, but it makes us lethargic and tired, encouraging us to just watch even more. Besides, do you really want to observe "other" people living interesting lives rather than getting out and living one yourself?

It is somewhat ironic that the two most important things in a father's life (his health and his families) are also the two things he most often takes for granted, neglecting them and then regretting it later on. Fortunately, there are ways that we can attend to both that will help us to be the best possible fathers that we can be, and it might even help us live longer. How can you beat that?

If you have questions or concerns about your health, speak with your physician. For more information about men's health, visit the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).