Kids, like us, benefit from regular physical activity. With running, kids can be active with minimal cost and low stress while developing a fundamental movement skill, placing them well on their way to a lifetime of active living. And running can be a great family activity!
Check out fun runs
Volunteering at a fun run is a great way for children to get up close to runners of all ages and abilities. Runs organized specifically around a children’s charity are likely to have more young participants, potentially sparking an interest in your own child.
Mix it up
Grow your child’s interest in running by frequently changing up the routine. Explore different areas like new neighborhoods and parks. Consider going on a trail run where you can stop to admire nature, or a beach run followed by a cool-off swim. Themed runs, scavenger hunts and obstacle courses are other great ways to break up the routine.
Make short-term goals
With some foresight on the adult’s part, kids can experience success early on in running, which will bode well for a lifelong interest in physical activity. Short-term goals, like completing an extra lap of a course, are much more effective for children than longer-term goals, like completing a 2 km race. When communicating with your child on what they did well, be as specific as possible.
Join a club
Whether the club is casual or competitive, look for a healthy balance of fun and challenge, with an emphasis on safety. Coaches need to be aware of individual differences in the physiological (aerobic capacity, for example), psychological and cognitive development of their athletes.
Safe progress will depend on how well training sessions are structured to meet their level of maturity in these areas.
Here are a few exercises to help you, and your kids, get into the game.
High-knee forward lunges
- In a standing position, hug your right knee to your chest.
- Release, then place your right foot ahead of you to move into a lunge.
- Stand up and repeat on the left. Do 12 lunges.
- Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees, and your shoulders, hips and heels in one line.
- Tighten your tummy muscles to prepare. Lift the top knee off the bottom knee, keeping the ankles in contact. Lift only as high as you can while keeping your pelvis from rolling back.
- Lower slowly to tap the bottom knee before lifting back up.
- Do 2 sets of 10 per side.
Squat with band
- Tie an elastic resistance band around your mid-thighs while standing.
- Push out against the band to bring your legs to hip-width apart.
- Keep pushing into the band with your thighs as you send your hips behind you into a squat.
- Press back up to standing, maintaining tension in the band at all times.
- Repeat 15 times.