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Running is a great family sport because it’s simple to learn, needs minimal equipment, can be done virtually anywhere at any time and lets everybody get some much-needed regular exercise. Fun run activities are also inspiring, and yeah, enjoyable!
Benefits of Kids Running
Kids develop a daily exercise habit as they run, particularly as part of a particular program or a constant family routine. That is something that will help them for the rest of their lives, both psychologically and physically.
They also understand the importance of perseverance and practice and that they should stick with anything and excel at it, even though it’s complicated.
Running is also an excellent option for children who dislike or fail with conventional team sports such as soccer, basketball, or baseball. Even though the person determines success, running can be a social activity, particularly if the child joins a track team. As a result, children will simultaneously improve their self-confidence and social skills.
If Your Child Has a Health Condition
Running also aids in the management of chronic illnesses such as depression, ADHD, obesity, and diabetes in children. Exercise is vital for both physical and emotional symptoms (such as weight gain) (such as anxiety). Running improves endurance, strength, and self-esteem, which are beneficial to children dealing with health issues.
Long-distance running, like every other sport, carries the risk of injury. Overuse complications, such as tendinitis, and physical injuries, such as sprains or fractures, will also occur in runners. Be sure your child has proper running shoes and understands the value of warming up, cooling down, resting, and allowing the body to rest between runs to reduce the risk of injury.
It’s also crucial that they grasp the distinction between fatigue, soreness, and pain. A little discomfort is normal, but children do not run if they are in pain.
When children with seasonal allergies and asthma run, they can develop asthma symptoms. Other children who do not have these diagnoses can also have signs like shortness of breath. Exercise-induced asthma is the term for this condition.
Children with asthma of any kind will and should exercise (although perhaps not in freezing weather, outdoors when air quality is poor, or if they have a cold). They can only need care before, during, or after exercise. Have a schedule for your child’s physician.
When and How should Kids start Running
Three-year-olds have a great ability to run. Any parents can ask how to get their preschoolers to stop running on occasion. Structured running in a sprint or with an adult, on the other hand, is not the same as bouncing across the playground or backyard.
So, when is the appropriate age for children to begin running as a sport? Children do not begin a structured running schedule until they are three years old. They do not understand what it means to run a race, and one negative experience may discourage them from doing so in the future.
Instead, inspire 3- and 4-year-olds to race by playing chase, doing an obstacle course, or running after the dog—anything that doesn’t sound like a planned curriculum. To get them going and have fun, play some running games. You’ll help them grow a passion for running that will eventually turn into a lifetime habit.
Suppose your child expresses an interest in racing. In that case, kindergarten is an excellent opportunity to find a youth running group or join your child in a local kids’ race (usually short distances of 100 to 400 meters).
If you plan to enroll your child in a running program, make sure it isn’t too structured or strenuous. The goal is for children to get some exercise, have a good time, and develop a passion for running.
Children of this age will also begin running on their own or participate in group fun runs. The Junior Olympics are open to exceptionally gifted children under the age of eight. This service features events for children in two-year age groups, beginning at the age of eight and running until they reach eighteen. In middle school or high school, most kids begin participating in cross-country running.
Best Distances for Kid Runners
Allowing your child to set the pace might be a good idea. This is so if they are 3 or 13 years old. It’s no fun always to feel like you’re falling behind! Instead, make small targets for your children to feel good. These objectives don’t have to be about pace.
Some may be about increasing speed, attempting a different form of running sport (intervals on a course, for example, or exploring an unknown trail), or playing a game, such as trying to find all 26 letters of the alphabet on signs you pass. Running with your child would enable you to assess their speed and strength.
Don’t underestimate how far and how hard they can go.
Any child can run a complete 5K (3.1 miles) by the age of eight, but you are the better judge of your child’s abilities and limitations. They certainly have the stamina to go the distance since They are still busy four or more days a week—swimming, running, playing soccer, and so on. If not, let’s focus on it together. Don’t let them go on a run every day, and make them drink lots of water before, after, and after their workout.
Running Shoes for Kids
Running shoes are about the only equipment children require; any suitable, non-bulky footwear appropriate for physical exercise would suffice. If you can, go to a specialist running store to get your kid’s shoes.
You’re looking for shoes that are both supportive and cushioned, as well as ones that fit comfortably. Since your child’s feet may swell while running, on the side of a slightly larger shoe rather than a snug fit, it’s also important to:
- Try on the shoe to see how it fits and how comfortable it is. Don’t only buy your child’s last pair of shoes in a larger size. Allow him to walk around in the shoes to get a sense of how they feel.
- Avoid selecting a shoe solely based on its appearance. Your child may think a shoe is amazing. But it’s a waste of money if it doesn’t work or won’t last.
- Running shoes can be replaced every four to six months. And if the shoe is still functional, the cushioning will degrade.
How to Find Programs and Races
Consult your child’s school or the recreation service in your town or county. Many churches have running teams or clubs open to children who are not members of the community.
Some services are very casual, with only once or twice weekly practice at a nearby track. Others are organized track and field teams that play in community track meets, where children compete in competitions such as the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter dash, relay races, and field events. To run in most youth track events, children must be at least seven years old.
Look for activities in your region on places like Active.com to find a nearby kids’ run. Many local 5K races include a shorter children’s race either before or after the main event. Please take a look at the race’s webpage to see what they have to do. The adrenaline-pumping environment of the race can boost your children’s interest in racing.
Kids and Competition
You’ll need to chat about competitiveness with your kid daily, whether they will be running races. (This is incorporated into the instruction in running programs such as Girls On the Run.) Do not equate your children to others, and allow them to complete the task on their own. Instead, concentrate on having fun and achieving realistic targets.
Your motivation and guidance would be invaluable to your young athletes. Be sure to compliment them on something specific, such as smashing their previous best time, setting a goal and sticking to it, or cheering on a rival.
Running can be a great reward itself in terms of health benefits. However, you can increase the attraction of your children towards running by engaging them in motivational events such as monitoring their miles, discovering new places to visit, or joining in a fun run together.
Point out milestones during a run: “You’ve already gone 2 miles!” or “Look at the hill you just climbed!” Make small targets for yourself, such as running to a nearby stop sign or other landmarks. If you run so hard, you risk alienating children for a long time.
More Ways to Run
Running games are excellent for improving stamina as well as being entertaining. Maybe your child would choose a running-based sport like soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, or tennis.
Kids may also be motivated by watching or volunteering at running activities. Take them to a track or cross-country race, preferably at a middle school, so that they can identify with athletes their age. Volunteering at a water station during a fun run or a charity 5K run will make your child feel valued and connected to the running community.