Text by Sarina Menezes Summer is the perfect season to spend your time outdoors learning a new sport or mastering new techniques. Nowhere in the suburbs of Mumbai, will you find an expanse of 8.2 acres of land where greenery and outdoor facilities beckon you to get physically active. And for the children who have just finished with school, summer holidays spent at The Club is the best. The Club has always been a place for people of all age groups and is especially welcoming to children and teenagers, considering there is no place for them to really hang out with their friends and stay safe – whether it is jumping on the trampoline, dining at our restaurants, swimming or just spending time on the main lawns. Summer is also a great time for teenagers to pause, relax and renew their spirits. Throughout the school year there is so much of rushing around and academic pressure which robs children of the many experiences that are necessary for an all-round- development. Research has proved that young people who are more active and spend time outdoors are happier, healthier and are better at socializing than teens who watch television at home. In a city like ours, which lacks open spaces and playgrounds, teens may find it hard to be physically active. Why physical activity is important for pre-teen and teenage children? Being active is an important part of your child’s daily routine. Little or no physical activity can put your child at the risk of being overweight or obese, developing high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and type-II diabetes. Being active every day can help:- – Improve heart health and fitness – Develop strong muscles, bones and good posture – Maintain a healthy weight – Improve concentration and memory – Increase self-confidence – Reduce stress – Improve sleep It is recommended that children aged 5-18 years should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Moderate activities generally make your child ‘huff and puff’ a little. These could include brisk walking, dancing, cycling and recreational swimming. Vigorous activities increase your child’s heart rate and may make him/her breathless. Vigorous activities include basketball, soccer, squash, tennis, hockey, swimming and football as well as less formal activities like chase. For many young people, this physical activity doesn’t just happen – it needs to be planned. Also, the child doesn’t have to get his 60 minutes of daily physical activity in one go. He can build it up over the day through a range of activities. SCHOOL SPORT ISN’T ALWAYS ENOUGH Most schools in Mumbai lack open spaces and those that promise extracurricular activities or outdoor activities need to be questioned on how much is actual physical activity. You might think your child will get all the physical activity he/she needs in the physical education (PE) class or from running around at lunchtime. Unfortunately, this might not happen. In PE classes, students spend only one third of their time being moderately to vigorously active – the rest of the time is spent learning about sports, skills, safety, exercise and the human body. And in their lunch break, children spend their time socializing and eating. CHILDREN WHO DON’T LIKE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Not all young people are keen on physical activity. There are a few things you could try to get him/her to be physically active: – You might need to explore a range of activities to find one that your child likes. Include activities that your child can do close to home and for low or no cost – for example, walking to the shop or going for a bike ride. – Look for simple, non-competitive activities that allow your child to socialize in a positive way. These can help her/him feel good about exercising rather than feeling pressured to be the best. – Think about group activities like dancing, trekking, water polo, yoga, karate & skating. – Your child could also look for opportunities such as umpiring, volunteering, supporting teams or coaching younger children. A lot of these activities are available and possible at The Club and can be organised by our team, on request. It’s heartening to see more and more young adults spending time, bonding with their friends and doing the things they love at the place they can call their own – The Club, Mumbai. And for those who don’t spend enough time outdoors, summer is a great time to fall in love with The Club. Image courtesy by Richa Gupta Kala