As parents, we all know that active kids are healthier than non-active kids, and the medical experts agree. However it’s harder and harder for kids to get enough exercise these days, between a cut in physical education for kids, busy school schedules, tv and the internet. And while organized sports can be a great exercise for kids, not every kid or family has the temperament, skills or money to be team player. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t promote kids fitness at home through the simple exercise of running.
Of course, running as a kids fitness exercise as both risks and benefits. While running can be a great exercise for adults, our bodies are generally stronger with denser bones. Kids however have a different make up and while there are significant benefits to running as an exercise, they are some risks.
Like any exercise your kids participate in, running should be supervised. If you’re not a runner yourself, you may want to take the sport up with your kids and learn about it together. This will be a great way to get healthy together and bond. You will want to make sure that your child isn’t overdoing it with running and hurting themselves.
First off, never allow kids to exercise without stretching first. Once they have properly stretched, pace their run with a warm-up period, a running period and a cool-down period. Work on their distances starting slow and short and working up to longer and longer periods.
Don’t forget consulting with your doctor before staring any kids fitness exercise to ensure that its appropriate for your child’s health condition.
Benefits of Running as a Kids Exercise
Luckily, running is one of those activities kids often do on their own, without much encouragement from their parents. However free running is very different than taking up the sport of running as an organized fitness activity. It’s a great, inexpensive activity – really all you need are some sneakers and weather appropriate clothes. You will want to invest in some decent running sneakers for your kids if they start to take running seriously – this doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive set, just remember if they keep running, they will wear those sneakers out.
Running is also a great foundation for training for other sports, or it can become a sport in and of itself, like track or cross-country. Your kid could also get interested in doing local 3k and 5k running races with you as ways to have fun and add some competition to the activity.
The great thing about running is that it’s a kids fitness activity that can be done solo or together. It may be an activity you enjoy with your kids or it may be something they really take to alone, reveling in the strength and sense of accomplishment it gives them. A life-long love of running is a great way to impart healthy living skills to your children.