The health benefits of keeping active are endless. Picture: Pixabay
Summer is here. Even though it officially starts in December but it feels like summer. The skies are clearer and days are starting to warm up.

Whether it’s cycling, swimming or being outside, experts say parents should make the most of the nice weather to take children off technology for some fun in the sun.

Instead of pulling out your wallet to pay for another movie ticket, try doing physical activities that your whole family will enjoy, so you'll add in that quality time together too.

The health benefits of keeping active are endless. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa says that everyone benefits from physical activity: children, adolescents, young- and middle-aged adults, older adults as well as people who are disabled or who have limitations due to disease. 

“Physical activity improves your quality of life, reduces your risk of heart disease and strokes, and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering your blood pressure by 4-9 mmHg which is almost as much as some antihypertensive medications.

“Lowering cholesterol levels and improving ‘good’ cholesterol levels and it keeps your heart, keeping it strong,” says the organization. 

When it comes to physical activities for children, Nikki Bush a human potential expert speaker and author says children love to move in open spaces.

Bush says with clearer skies it’s a perfect excuse to take the children outside to spend time together.

“Kids value the time that they spend with their parents. Most of the time parents spend time with kids doing daily routine. Everything they do outside that is special to them,” says Bush.

Adding that family outdoor adventures are a fantastic way to create a sense of belonging for kids.

Here are some of the physical activities that you can try as family.

Swimming

Swimming is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime. It is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits.
Bush says parents can take the kids swing at the beach or in swimming in the pool. For those who don't have any of these, she says you can open a sprinkler for few minutes so the kids can run under it. 

Get on the wheels

Bush says families can make use of bicycles, rollerblades and skateboards to get the children to move.
“Once they start moving, they get more oxygen on their body and pump endorphins which make them even happier than when they are sitting,” says Bush.

Gardening

Experts say the health benefits of outdoor gardening – including backyard gardening and community gardening – range from increased nutrients in your diet to staving off chronic diseases.

Bush says this a perfect bonding session for families and it helps kids create good childhood memories that they can take to adulthood.  “These memorable experiences will become a part of the narrative that makes a family,” she adds.

For people who have small apartments and limited spaces. Bush say it’s important for parents to make a conscious effort for their kids activity by taking kids to the park, a walk or on park run.