Running With Children
Running with your children can be a great activity to get the whole family active! This is a good opportunity to be a role model to your children in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Listed below is advice on how to get started.
There is no evidence stating an age is too young to start running. However, it is important to keep in mind your child’s interest levels. It may take some prompting at first to get them started but remember to keep them interested by making it fun and not competitive.
Distance, stride and frequency
Letting your child set the pace and the distance is important. They have shorter stride lengths and less aerobic capacity than adults so you don’t want to tire them out by making them keep up with you. Remember to tell them to pace their running as young children will tend to sprint if you ask them to run. If you and your child are new to running, try a combination of walking and running to prevent exhaustion so they do not get discouraged. When your running progresses, try to have more running than walking. A good rule to follow is the 10 percent rule which is to never increase your running distance more than 10 percent a week.
When beginning to run, it is important to not run everyday so they do not lose interest in the activity. Use your days off to do something else fun and active with your family!
Stretching is a good idea after the run. A light warm up of jogging is preferred over static stretching before therun. Be sure to stretch the major muscle groups involved in running such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and ensure that your child is not stretching to the point of discomfort.
It is important that you and your child are wearing shoes that fit well and are made for fitness. Shoes made for fashion are not appropriate as they are not designed to handle the impact of running. Children’s feet grow quickly so make sure that you are always checking to see that their shoes still fit well. Adults should get new shoes about every 6 months.
If your child has pain while running, stop immediately. This goes for adults as well. Children are more susceptible to experiencing pain at their growth plates (heels or knees). If this occurs, slow down and take it easy to prevent progression of the injury. See us @ Sporting Edge Physiotherapy for analysis of your run and more comprehensive training tips to prevent injury.
Running is a great way to get your children active at a young age. So use these tips and get outside to start running with your children today!