Get Out… Get Active!

As most of us know, kids are not only little bundles of joy but also bundles of energy! With the amount of energetic zeal kids have, it’s a great idea to direct these energies in a positive direction. This summer, help your kids enjoy the thrill of the outdoors and keep them busy with activities that are both healthy and fun!

Physical activity helps kids develop better body control and strength. And it’s a great way for you to get some exercise into your day while spending some quality time with your kids. We spoke to two mothers about the activities they do with their children, and they also had some suggestions on how to help keep the entire family healthy and active.

Horse Riding: Kids love animals, especially horses. Rummy Azad, mother of two, mentions how she and her husband Sameer take their eight-year-old daughter horse-riding. She says, “During the weekends we usually go to the horse riding club in Moinabad, where they have trainers by the rider’s side, so it’s perfectly safe and fun.” Alka Chopra, also a mother of two, takes her children to the Polo and Horse Riding Club in Gandipet. Her six-year-old daughter Avanti loves horses. “The place not only has beautiful horses but is also very child-friendly and provides horse riding classes,” adds Alka.

Trekking:  Research has shown that hiking/trekking is an excellent way to lose those extra pounds and improve overall health. According to the American Heart Association, it’s best to walk vigorously for 30 to 60 minutes, 3-4 times a week.

The health benefits of trekking are significant. Trekking can help you shed excess pounds, prevent heart disease, decrease hypertension or high blood pressure, and improve your mental health. In addition, it’s been show to help slow the aging process, prevent osteoporosis, prevent and control diabetes, and relieve arthritis and back pain.

Rummy tells us, “On Sundays, the whole family, elders and the kids go out for trekking.” Some of the places they go to are the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Secret Lake (popularly known as Durgam Cheruvu) and also areas in Shamirpet. Forest areas are also on their list of trekking sites. “The children get a good feel of the wildlife,” Rummy says.

Swimming:  Swimming enhances children's natural flexibility and promotes proper muscular development. For swimming, Alka Chopra says they usually go to the Jayabheri Club at Jayabheri Silicon County in Kondapur. "Avanti loves to go there and enjoy a swim while Aayan (age one) loves to play in the sand pit."

The Azad family, on the other hand, use the indoor swimming pool in the clubhouse at their home in Villa Green, Gandipet. Rummy says, “Our two-year-old daughter Amber especially loves the water.” Getting kids acclimatised to the water at an early age is ideal, since swimming can be a fun way to keep fit, and will also habituate kids into getting regular exercise early in life.

Trampolines: Get your little one a trampoline, which can be a great stress buster. Trampolines benefit preschoolers a great deal - the jumping helps strengthen limbs and increase body awareness, improve balance, coordination and muscle tone. It also helps develop a better perception of height and depth, improves reflexes, increases stamina and spatial awareness.

Rock climbing: Rock climbing is a multi-dimensional sport that involves strength and flexibility, a high degree of endurance and skill. Physical exercise and mental discipline are both tested while climbing. It is an excellent exercise alternative that helps children cope with fear and stress, and encourages both self-reliance and confidence.

Bicycling: Cycling is one of the most enjoyable activities for kids, and has its own share of benefits. Bicycling for 30 minutes, two to three days a week can help you maintain weight, increase energy, and reduce stress. Furthermore, cycling helps your knees, thighs and hips stay flexible. Done on a regular basis, it can even reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and various heart-related diseases by almost 50 percent.

Loving the outdoors can be that easy. Have some fun while getting your family and kids in tip-top shape this summer. With the added bonus of more family time together, it’s certainly worth the effort!       - Hewasa