It is doubtful if your health insurance provider or HMO will buy you a kite from Tumbleweeds & Tarantulas. Still there is a therapeutic benefit to kite flying. Kite flying can also enhance your time spent with family, help you drop a pound or two, and, perhaps, become an addictive hobby that inspires a road trip or two. Okay, kite flying isn’t a magic elixir but it is a fun hobby with a very long history.

Let’s talk health benefits. Kiteboarding 4 Cancer was started by Tonia Farman in memory of her brother who died from leukemia. The organizations slogan is “Empowering individuals to harness the power of wind and water to benefit lives affected by cancer.” What, you may ask, is kite boarding. It is a water sport where the individual uses the harnessed power of a large kite, combined with something similar to a surfboard to glide across the water under pure wind power.

For many people the first step toward a healthier lifestyle begins with developing the self discipline needed to begin an exercise program and then sticking to it. The process is made easier if the endeavor is infused with an aspect of fun, or childlike playfulness. Now, for just a moment, think about the fun you had with kites as a kid.

Sitting at a desk in a cubicle staring at mobile phones and computer screens isn’t healthy. In fact some medical studies are indicating that sitting for long periods of time and a sedentary lifestyle is even more detrimental to our health than smoking. This lifestyle is also conducive to posture issues and increased levels of stress. Now, close your eyes and picture a kite dancing on a breeze high in a blue sky. Kite flying has been proven to induce feelings of relaxation.

There is more. Other studies have provided an array of evidence that outdoor activities are natural stress alleviates. And, of course, everyone knows that exercise in the outdoors breathing fresh air can reinvigorate. A fancy term for this is mindfulness, the fostering of acute awareness. This has a direct benefit on focus, as well as the ability to manage pain, depression and even anxiety. Memory and learning ability is also enhanced.

Then there are the benefits of socializing. Social media relationships are largely cold and impersonal. Interaction and activities such as kiting, especially in a family group has also been proven to have health benefits. Likewise with participation in a festival or competition. And when surrounded by like minded people, colorful or custom kites can make great conversation starters. As a bonus, if you are creative, there is the relaxation and mindfulness of making your own kite.

In a nutshell kite flying is more than mere child’s play. It is a great way to kick off a healthy lifestyle, or enhance one. It is an ideal family activity. And it is wonderful way to build some friendships. So, the prescription is simple – go fly a kite.