India is blessed with sunshine for most of the year. The good weather should encourage us to spend more time outdoors, being active. There are several recreational activities that are not only fun to do, but also help to keep your heart healthy. The time spent outdoors can also be great for families to bond and grow closer together.
Family Fun and Heart Health
Run And Catch (Tag):
This is a great game if you have children, but anyone can play. If you don’t have an open space surrounding your house, find a nearby park. The game is very simple where one person is chosen to be the Catcher who chases and tries to catch the other players. The first round finishes when everyone has been caught. The first person to get caught is the next Catcher. All the running involved in the game gives you a complete cardio workout and helps strengthen the heart.
If you are planning a weekend picnic with the family, you can make it a trek. Choose a picnic spot that is on top of a hill which you and your family need to climb to reach. You can choose how high to climb depending on the age and fitness levels of all the family members. Pack your picnic snacks and lots of water bottles in backpacks which makes them easier to carry while on the trek. The walk uphill will give your heart a good amount of exercise.
When playing throwball with your family you just need a string tied from one end of the play area to the other and any type of ball. You can keep score by counting how many times the ball was dropped or went outside the make-shift court. Throwball is a full body work out involving arm and leg muscles. Because the sport is fun, people stick with it for longer which helps improve endurance.
Doing yoga outdoors on the grass at a park or playground, has multiple benefits for the heart. You not only de-stress and give your muscles a workout, but you also get fresh air. When doing yoga, you don’t have to do an elaborate routine. Simply sitting in the Lotus Pose and focusing on your breathing can have a positive effect on your stress levels. Asanas or poses like Tadasana (Mountain pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog pose), and Setu Bandha Savangasana (Bridge pose), are all beneficial for the heart.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art and form of aerobic activity which does not require vigorous movement. Tai Chi’s unique combination of flowing physical moves and meditation has been found to be very effective in reducing stress and high blood pressure. If you can’t find a group or teacher to practice with, there are a number of videos online that can teach you the basics. Once you have a simple routine in place, you can practice it with friends and family till you are ready to learn more.
Get Moving And Breathing:
Any sport that increases your heart rate and makes you start sweating is good for your heart. Other activities that help you decrease stress are also advantageous for your cardiovascular health. The activities mentioned here don’t need any special equipment and can be done with the whole family.