Physical education in school, play, and running are activities that are already part of childhood. This routine that is treated as an entertainment today can be a way to get children to lead a life with exercise and, in the future, will be a great ally to prevent children from becoming sedentary.
Despite appearing at first sight, as an extreme activity for kids, running for is highly recommended for children under 12 years. According to several studies, young people who practice physical activities are half as likely to become sedentary adults as those who had a “do nothing” childhood. However, it is essential to ensure that small runs do not exceed the dose of exercise that they should get.
1. Can children practice running?
Children can run, but no more than any other physical activity. It is natural for a child to keep moving while doing activities or while playing and not interfering with their development.
It is essential to differentiate running as training or game, the most important thing to determine is the duration, and intensity of the effort.
2. From what age can children run?
We have to understand the difference between training to practice a sport and doing physical activities.
Physical activity can be added to the child’s routine from the moment he or she can perform it. Usually, after 3 months many parents get their babies in the pool and when they are two years old they already know how to do cartwheels, jump, swim mouth-up and mouth-down.
Sport is defined as permanent training focused on competition and should not be confused with physical activity, which is the practice of exercises without seeking competition.
3. When can a child train for a sport?
Children under the age of five should not do any specific training or training for a sport, including running.
The training from five to ten years have to be very short, the child can run 1-2 km at most and at a very slow pace. They should not be forced to perform speed competitions. They have to understand it like games and short distances between 50 and 100 meters.
From the age of ten, kids can start a running workout, always keeping in mind that the exercises should be light and of relatively short duration, determined by the level of fatigue of the child. Also, most of the team sports that kids practice sum up in their preparation and training for a race.
Only from the age of 16, kids can make long races of more than 5 km, and as long as the child is accustomed and trained.
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4. What are the risks of running for children?
It is important to understand that children and adolescents get tired more easily since their glucose reserves are low.
Their muscle strength is also much lower compared to an adult, in this case, if the training is poorly designed and the stimulus is exaggerated, the child can develop injuries with greater ease and muscular pains that will be more intense.
5. When is running for a child contraindicated?
Running is not indicated for children who have heart problems, in cases of children with asthma or bronchitis running is not recommended because they can get worse with the effort of the race.
6. Benefits of running in children
- Cardiovascular conditioning: Running improves the heart and breathing rate, helping to pump blood throughout the body.
- Strengthening bones: Yes, running for children, when done moderately, can bring advantages to bone formation and strength.
- Improvement of glucose control: During exercise, the body calculates better the proportions of the substances that it releases and among these glucose levels are included.
- Body Weight Maintenance: If your child does physical activities that require enough energy, usually, you can be less worried about some small excess in food. As a result, the body weight of these little ones is more appropriate for their age groups.
A study conducted in the United States has shown that children who are fit before age five are less likely to be overweight from 8 to 11 years of age.
- Increase in muscle strength: There is no doubt about the work that the muscles of the legs and calf perform and increase their resistance. But we must pay special attention to tendons.
To avoid injuries, the use of shoes with a good impact absorption system is recommended. So let’s avoid inheriting siblings’ shoes, as this can be counterproductive to your child’s physiological health.
- Improved agility, balance and coordination: Regular exercise, such as running for children, can stimulate cognitive development.
- Improves the management of emotions: The expenditure of energy that is achieved with running contributes to better control of emotions such as anger or tantrums.
- Children with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder may improve by exercising because they tend to stay busy and absorbed by exercise.
Finally, we can say that there are several investigations that have shown that when an individual starts in a sport when he is young, he is half as likely to become a sedentary adult.
Other benefits of running in children:
- Increase in flexibility and strength.
- Increase in appetite
- Improves mood.
- Increased concentration and therefore school performance.
On the other hand, running two or three times a week since childhood can reduce by 20% the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension when we are older.
7. What sports best contribute to the development of children?
Variety is the best. Especially from 2 to 5 years. Many parents end up disappointed when their child gives up, gets bored and does not want to return after two or three months in swimming or judo lessons. This is not bad, it is very normal and it is even good for the child to experience different activities.
Even so, the best options in terms of sports are swimming and dance (without entering at levels that require competition or sports performance).
Indoor sports should start being practice after 7 years old, and running can perfectly supplement in the form of games or as a very soft race.
8. What is the proper exercise routine in running for children over 13?
Adolescents older than 13 years can train up to three times a week, 30-45 minutes. Never every day. The speed must be low and not exceed 7-9 km/h.
Also, both for health and to get the habit, it is essential always to associate the practice with stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the lower extremities and lower back.
The training should never exceed five kilometers, to avoid injuries or malformations in the tread, it should be done on surfaces with less impact such as dirt, grass, and avoid asphalt and sidewalks.
Of course, this only applies to normal people, if your child is a competing athlete, the training will be different, although it should always be controlled and verified by a qualified personal trainer.
9. Tips for running training for children
Are you interested in starting your child in a training routine for running? Take a look at the list of tips we have prepared for the family:
– Do not prioritize competition
There are many contests and races for children, which can be excellent to keep the child motivated. However, when the sport only becomes a race for medals and prizes, it loses its playful and educational goal. The important thing is to ensure that your children learn the pleasure of playing sports and staying active throughout their lives. For this, it is essential that physical activity does not lose the game characteristic, at least for children under 10 years of age.
– Care intensely
Children are still in the stage of physical development, a strong or more intense training can hinder bone and muscle formation.
The act of force or overload on the muscles of the child can cause pain, which appears more frequently during the night and ends up being mistakenly considered as “growing pains” or stiffness. If the child has symptoms or pain, we should talk to our child to explain that the intensity of physical activity should decrease. Also, we will always prevent children under 13 years of age from running more than 5 km.
Children – especially children under 5 years old – use the behavior of parents as a parameter and a mirror to interact with the world.
If they see their parents training every day, this will become a great incentive for them and they will love it. On the other hand, the presence of children can be a motivating point for most adults who are still starting their training routine and thus have the commitment to accompany them during the practice of running. This type of family time remains in the memory of your child for life.
– Do not do workouts, better play
Running is a natural activity for children, so, it is not necessary that this activity has the same rigor or planning as for adults.
It is also not recommended that they focus on improving specific performance, as well as the pressure of having to reach the objectives that can make the little ones get frustrated and do not want to go back to practicing the sport.
The defined objectives of specific training are only recommended after 15 years. However, having a professional in physical education after the activities is good to advise on the optimal intensity of the race for each child.
10. What game exercises do we recommend for young children?
If your children are in a sedentary period, the best way to get them to run is through games. Take a look at some games below for both children and parents (to lose those extra calories and do some exercise as a family).
In addition to the proposed games, if you are not a person who enjoys sport, but you want your child to do so, try simply to walk every day, your kid will run from a place to another and you will get a little activity that will never hurt you, even if you do not like sports.
– Grab the handkerchief
Benefit for children: Develop cardiorespiratory fitness, sprint, agility, logic, speed.
Benefit for parents: Burning 170 calories every 30 minutes.
– Rope game
Benefit for children: develops strength, balance, logic, spatial and motor coordination.
Benefit for parents: Burning 150 calories every 30 minutes.
– Capture the Flag
Benefit for children: Develop spatial orientation, motor coordination, logic, teamwork, and creativity.
Benefit for parents: Burning 220 calories every 30 minutes.
– Catch me if you can
Benefit for children: Develop motor skills, balance, speed, and agility.
Benefit parents: Burning 200 calories every 30 minutes.