Many parents are looking for fun ways for their kids to stay active and healthy. Running is a natural fit for many children. No matter your age, ability level, or endurance; running can be fun. Plus, it is one sport that can be done as a family. A great example of this is the Earth Day 5K taking place in Watertown, CT on April 20. The Fun Run and 5K races benefit Watertown rec projects, and there is a race for everyone!
If you have children under the age eight, it is recommended that you stick with a mile long course. While some kids are able to run a 5K at this age, many will find the distance to be too taxing. In order to keep the day fun, let the child set the pace. Stopping to rest, or walking slowly is perfectly acceptable.
Older kids can begin a training schedule prior to the 5K event, and they should be encouraged to mix running with other sports that they enjoy. Kids are growing quickly between ages 9-12, and that can lead to injuries—especially around the long bones of the legs. Burnout is another cause for concern. If you want your child to learn to love running, don’t push. Use the mile run as a benchmark, and use it to help your child understand the importance of pacing.
The changing bodies of adolescents can lead to changes and risks in running. Boys may find their speeds increasing, while girls may lose time. Stress fractures also become more common as growth spurts hit. Overtraining is cautioned against at this time, and into the high school years. The message for these athletes—don’t overdo it! Playing other sports in combination with running will actually reduce injuries due to overuse.
Celebrate Earth Day with a family run! If foot pain is keeping you out of the race, call the office of Dr. Sanjay Patel today. You can reach the Hamden, CT office at (203) 288-4055, or the Milford, CT office at (203) 876-7736. Appointments can also be made online.