Running is good for children and the best part is you can sprint with your kids too
What do you tell your children about fitness? Do you tell them that exercise helps them lose weight, makes them look better, or makes feel healthier? The universal fact is that when you exercise and eat right, your mind feels good and your body functions better.
Fitness for adults, these days, means more of outdoor workouts like morning runs, walks, treadmills, lifting weight, yoga and any other physical activity. In contrast, present-day children, the so called ‘robo-babies’ and the ‘multimedia generation’, seem to spend most of their time indoors with their iPods, TV, video games and other technological gadgets. These gadgets will not only kill their social, personal and creative skills, but also leave a negative impact on their health and emotions, thus affecting their future way of living. As parents, we are responsible to change that mindset and cannot leave the future in the hands of digitally controlled minds.
So, how do we curb this addiction and channelise their energy in a positive way? Think something like ‘Come on kids, let’s run!’ will work? Never! Best way is to ‘think like a child’ and introduce ‘run’ as a physical and fun activity.
Say hello to fun runs:
Organising periodic fun runs by adding some fun elements to your child’s day-to-day or weekend schedules will work wonders. When children are having fun, they continue to do whatever they are doing. You can also include games such as four corners, lock and key, Help! Help!, Kho-Kho, football etc. Team up with people in society and run relay races on a track. Sprinting on a running track adds charm and vigour. Run loops around a park, setting targets like three or five loops to help build their endurance.
Children of all ages love going to the beach. Plan a beach run with your family. Your children can be your best running buddies. Plan short runs on the road and allow them to choose the course.
Understand the long-term health benefits of running for your child:
Your child will develop a stronger immune system by running. Running strengthens the cardiovascular system, increasing the blood flow to tissues in the body, including the brain.
Running also reduces stress, making children happier and helps them focus better in their classroom environment and boosts confidence and self-esteem in children, making them feel fit and good about themselves.
Emphasise that participation is more important than winning:
Children often think competitions and races are only for fast runners. We, as adults, should eradicate that preconceived notion and instil positive thinking in young minds. Make your child believe that ‘Winning isn’t everything and participation matters’. Winning or losing, all that matters is the courage to participate. It is essential to face all challenges and hurdles that come our way.
As parents, make sure your children know that ‘win or lose’, you love them and are not disappointed with their performance. This way, children learn to accept failures and take up challenges.
‘Show me don’t tell me’, say our kids:
Parents are their child’s first and most important role models. Children learn from what they see. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’. Begin with yourself first! Get healthy, stay healthy and inspire your children to be healthy too. Once you start, you will never want to stop. Being fit will not only help your children physically, but will also help them focus at school and help them achieve life goals too.
Being a fitness role model for your own child is as important for their health, as it is for yours. They may not thank you now, but your life will have a huge impact on them.
About Chennai Runners
Chennai Runners are a group of enthusiastic runners in the city, with 16 neighbourhood chapters.