By Janeé Williams
Get your kids off the couch and on the track. The summer is fast approaching and you don’t want your kids stuck in the house. Get them outside and exercising in no time. One great way to get your kids up is by running. Linda Poor is the curriculum adviser for FitKids, and she is here to provide us with some helpful tips to get your kids prepared and ready for running.
What are the Benefits of running for children and how often should they run?
“In general, exercise can help to increase physical fitness, overall health and confidence along with improving memory skills. Running in particular helps to improve how efficiently your heart and lungs can supply oxygen to your body so that your muscles can produce energy. Running is also considered a weight bearing exercise, so it helps to keep bones strong. I would say it depends on how often a child should run. It all depends on the child and whether or not they have health issues.”
How can your child properly prepare to start running?
“Do you remember learning to run as a child or did your parents just say, go out and play? Most healthy children should be able to run properly without any type of ‘coaching’ by the time they are 3 or 4 years old. If a child’s running style seems overtly different from other children their age, you can check with your pediatrician. If your child shows an interest in more organized running, Kindergarten age is probably an appropriate time to try out a children’s fun run”.
How can you make running easier for children?
“Simple, have fun. Kids will inherently go towards an activity that they view as fun. It will be different for every child. Maybe your kid likes to play tag or chase after the dog. Other children will enjoy running while playing soccer or basketball. If kids are tired or hot, they should be encouraged to take a break and drink water. Running should be fun for kids and not be seen as a chore or punishment.”
What are some helpful running tips?
“Children should try out different types of running. They should run easy, medium and hard, as well as, short, medium and long distances. For most children, proper technique can be as simple as having an easy, relaxed body while running. Additionally, arms should not swing frantically, but in a piston like motion from the hip to the armpit area, no twisting of the body and the head should be held mostly still.”
What is proper running gear for the child?
“In general, proper running gear should be comfortable to the child. It should be appropriate for the weather so that the child does not become overheated or too cold. Layers are generally a good idea, as well as breathable fabrics. Shoes should be properly fit to the child’s size and be pain free. Water and proper nutrition are key for any child, but especially for girls entering puberty. Other precautions should also be taken during the warmer months such as sunglasses, hats and sunscreen.”