Wednesday 22 June 2016

Health | Summer sports for the family

It’s hard for families today, there are far too many digital distractions. While we are all guilty of using the iPad or television at times where we just need a little peace (or time to do the housework) it can often leave children over stimulated and even isolated.
The great outdoors is in danger of becoming overlooked! The weather has been fairly impressive so far this year, and long may that continue! So why not embrace the summer sun and use it to strengthen the family bond in the fresh summer air, below are some of the summer sports you may not have considered doing with the whole family. 

Roller Skating
OK, so you may not be rollerblading down Huntingdon beach – but there is a lot to be said for the somewhat forgotten art of roller skating! 
Despite it looking effortless it’s a fab cardio workout, strengthening the heart and also helps to strengthen your core (a hidden bonus for those of us who are lucky enough to have children). For the adults, it’s a great fat burning exercise averaging around 210 calories per 30 minutes.
For the children, it is an excellent form of exercise that also builds on their agility and co-ordination. The movement requires balance from the core to remain upright, co-ordinating this with the leg movement improves all important co-ordination. 
Not to mention the social aspect! There is plenty of laughs to be had as everyone tries to remain upright – just don’t forget the protective gear!

Tennis isn’t the easiest sport for children to learn, and if you are willing to let the technique slide a little, it can be so much fun! Tennis is fast becoming one of the most popular sports among children of a younger age, and many are starting as young as 4 years old. 
“Easily” played as a family, tennis can provide a great bonding experience, especially as you will be teaching the little ones new skills. Just like Roller skating, tennis is the perfect sport to build co-ordination and fine motor skills as well as gross motor control.
Great news for parents - tennis can be just as effective as a spinning class when it comes to calorific burn; an hours playing can result in 600 calories being burnt. The game requires players to sprint 100s of times in a range of directions and at varying speeds. Perfect for burning off those closely associated strawberries and cream!
There are many reported psychological benefits of tennis too; the sport is said to aid problem solving skills, educate players on accommodating stress and quick thinking strategies. All very valuable life skills!
Osteopath Ben Barker provides a further insight, “While tennis great cardiovascular exercise, it also increases bone density – particularly beneficial for women. The social aspect of them means you are likely to push yourself harder, just be sure to thoroughly warm up muscles and joints. Undertaking dynamic stretches before a game will stimulate the muscles, making your movements more fluid and reducing risk of injury. High Knees, Butt Kickers and plyometric movements like squat jumps and mountain climbers will build explosive power in the muscles.”

There’s no 2 ways about it –modern life is frantic, and often stressful! Yoga is so beneficial to modern day living it’s a real shame that more families aren’t tapping into it.
Of course, there are many physical benefits to yoga; it strengthens and tones muscles and the core as well as increasing energy and vitality. It is also fab for total body conditioning which lessens the risk of injuries occurring – perfect for those countless accidents the little ones seem to be so good at getting themselves in to!
Yoga teaches us all about self-awareness and focus; through deep breathing and movement it allows us to become more aware of our bodies improving boy confidence, which seems to be ever important in today’s image obsessed world. The poses also encourage good posture, which is perfect for long term musco-skeletal health. 
Yoga Instructor and Entrepreneur Heidi Kristoffer explains how Yoga influences other areas of your life, “Practicing yoga changes your mind: It changes the way you approach life, your body, and eating. Yoga shows you how to appreciate your body for all of the amazing things that it can do for you and points you in the direction of wanting to fill your body with the best possible fuel rather than processed junk food. And changing your mind about your body and the foods you feed it will be a much more effective weight-loss tool than burning a bunch of calories in an aggressive kick-boxing class and then mindlessly plowing through equal or more calories later that day.”
The real benefits of yoga can be felt on a far deeper level. The flow of poses and meditative nature of yoga instils a feeling of inner peace and teach you practices to keep anxiety and tension at bay, perfect for the worrying that everyday life can place on you.
If each member of the family are feeling at peace, they are more open to building stronger, more trusting relationships with each other contributing to family life. 

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