Medical experts agree that children who are active are healthier than those who are sedentary. Many school systems no longer have the same amount of time for Physical Education and recess, but this doesn’t mean your child can’t be active at home. Some adults choose to run to keep active. With kids, there are benefits and risks of running if that’s what they choose to do.
Adults who run are usually very healthy. Their hearts are strong, they have dense bones (which will be important later in life), and they have a reduced risk for some diseases. With their enthusiasm for running, they may be wondering if this activity could be a viable option for their children. Before trying to encourage your children to take up running, it is important to consider the benefits and risks for your child.
Running is something children tend to do without much encouragement from adults. However, when it comes to running as a sport or regular activity, you can’t beat it as a means to promote fitness. It is an inexpensive activity which requires little by way of special equipment. Find good quality running shoes that fit well and remember that your child is growing, so you may have to replace the shoes quite often.
Your child can also use running as a precursor to training for other sports. They may choose to continue running as a sport by either joining a cross country or track team. It’s a great activity that will be useful in nearly any competitive sport they may become interested in the future.
If you’re a runner, your child may become interested in running, too. What better activity to share with your child? It can bring you closer together and improve your relationship with one another. Don’t be surprised, however, if your child chooses to compete with and surpass you. Remember, they’re testing their boundaries but they need to know you’re there for them.
While running can be a great activity, it isn’t without its risks. If a parent is already a runner, they will want to be aware of their child’s running activities. It’s important to guide and supervise a young runner to help them avoid physical or psychological injury.
Encourage them to stretch properly before running. Help them by monitoring their progress and the amount of time they spend training. Learn to anticipate potential problems by falling back on your own experiences as a runner.
Children who have parents who are runners often decide to begin running themselves. They know the dedication and time running takes, so they’re probably already somewhat prepared for what running will require. By speaking with your child’s doctor and following what you already know, you and your child may soon begin to enjoy pounding the pavement together.