Kids and Running

Most kids are natural runners. But what about the ones that aren’t? Is there a way to get them interested in running and at what age should they start? How closely should they be supervised?

A good age to start is somewhere between kindergarten and the first grade. If they show an interest you can help them along by starting them off slowly and working up to a more structured program.

The most important thing to do is to make it fun. Just like adults, if something isn’t fun most people won’t stick to it. They can warm up with games like tag and hide and go seek. Or the older kids may find rollerblading, hula hoop, and skateboards fun. A new set of rollerblades or a new bike under the Christmas tree or as a birthday present may be just the spark that’s needed.

If you can’t get them outdoors yet, you can always start with something on wii fit. Some of the fit games they have are Ski Jump, Hula Hoop, Soccer Heading, and Basic Step (similar to Dance, Dance Revolution).

Just like adults kids need to start off slowly and work their way up, building stamina over time. Maker sure they have appropriate socks and good shoes and do some stretching and warm ups in the beginning.

Walk before you run. Kids will walk with you if the scenery is interesting to them. Walk around the mall, parks, the beach, and through the neighborhood. 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles. Slowly build up to doing a walk-run and eventually to running.

Find a good youth running program or youth running club. Not only is it a good, structured way to learn how to run the right way, but it’s also a good way to meet friends. Kids can record their progress and learn how to set goals.

There are fun runs all over the country. Many marathons also have something for the kids, whether it’s a kids fun run, or some are called a fun dash. They are between 100-400 meters and offer the kids free T-shirts and souvenirs when they cross the finish line. You can start by taking them to races and cheering other runners on from the sidelines. Get them in the spirit of being involved in a community event that’s fun and healthy.

If you notice they are really not into running, don’t push it.There are plenty of others ways to get your kids off of the couch and moving. But if they do show interest, there’s a lot that you can do to encourage them.

Look into a good youth running program or running club.

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