Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catch me if you can!

  Many adults seem to have some memories of gym class angst from running laps being meted out as a punishment, so it's safe to assume that running isn't fun right? If you watch children racing around a playground you might think twice. Children love to run - chasing, racing and playing tag have always been an integral part of childhood.

Add in the fun! - children love games, prizes and friendly competition. There are plenty of children's activities that encourage movement skills, fun, and training all in one package. Try organizing an obstacle race, a scavenger hunt, a game of tag or more obvious training activities such as running up and down hills or timed sprint races.

Running is healthy! - The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for children ages 5-11 recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Participation in vigorous activities are recommended 3 times per week and are classified as activities that cause children to sweat and be out of breath. Overweight or physically inactive children may need to slowly increase their activity levels to keep up motivation and prevent short-term injuries.

Running safety includes:
  • teaching proper running form and movement concepts
  • setting attainable goals - progress slowly and set goals that the child wishes to achieve
  • providing a variety of activities to retain interest and prevent burnout or overuse injuries
  • following proper nutrition guidelines and ensuring adequate hydration
  • providing required footwear, sun safety and safe areas for activity 
Most children love to just run around, but adding a variety of structured activities can increase engagement and motivation while promoting running as a safe, enjoyable, long-term activity for young children.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Beverly J. KIDS GOING LONG. Running Times. June 2011;(387):48-53. 
2. JENNY S, ARMSTRONG T. DISTANCE RUNNING and the Elementary age Child. JOPERD: The Journal Of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. March 2013;84(3):17-25. 
3. Moss D. Year-Long Fun-Run Series for Your Entire School. Tricks Of The Trade For Middle Distance, Distance & Cross-Country Running. June 2004;:150-155. 
4. Physical Activity Programming Assists Children Who Are Obese. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly [serial online]. July 1994;11(3):335-336.
5. Platat C, Jarrar A. Reliability and validity of a physical activity questionnaire in children. International Journal Of Food Sciences & Nutrition. September 2012;63(6):637-644.. 
5. Rowland T. Should Children Be Allowed to Run Marathon Races? A Virtual Roundtable. Pediatric Exercise Science. March 2006;18(1):1. 

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